The Wonder of Boys: What Parents, Mentors and Educators Can Do to Shape Boys into Exceptional Men

The Wonder of Boys: What Parents, Mentors and Educators Can Do to Shape Boys into Exceptional Men

by Michael Gurian
     
 
In this insightful and practical book, Michael Gurian describes what boys need to become strong, responsible, sensitive men. Instead of encouraging us to stifle boys' natural propensities for competition and aggression, Gurian offers effective and practical guidelines for channeling them. He shows how the evils boys are susceptible to, including gang activity, sexual

Overview

In this insightful and practical book, Michael Gurian describes what boys need to become strong, responsible, sensitive men. Instead of encouraging us to stifle boys' natural propensities for competition and aggression, Gurian offers effective and practical guidelines for channeling them. He shows how the evils boys are susceptible to, including gang activity, sexual misconduct, and crime, become necessary outlets when positive role models and adult support are not available. Most important, Gurian explains what a boy really needs--a primary and an extended family, relationships with mentors, and intense support form his school and community--and details how we can provide these things for the boys we love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Yes, boys and girls are different, says Washington state family therapist Gurian (Mothers, Sons and Lovers), urging that society learn how to deal creatively with gender-specific needs. In considering the cultural effects of heightened gender consciousness, Gurian warns of the dangers of "enmeshing male development with a female culture in transition." Outlining biological differences, he explains that boys are "hard-wired" to possess certain traits. Because of male brain chemistry and the hormone testosterone, boys are apt, for example, to relish risk-taking and to be physically aggressive and competitive (violence, he claims is not hard-wired, but learned through culture). What Gurian adds to this generally recognized background material is a persuasive summons to society, specifically parents, educators and communities, to unite to channel these traits in positive directions. Sports, for instance, allow competition but also teach responsibility. Work, nature study, music and spiritual pursuits are other positive channels. Gurian, who has also lived in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, suggests that we in the U.S. have grown away from beneficial rites of passageand toward "isolated, tremulous, family systems." In this shift, he contends, boys have been abandoned, and he urges that society reclaim responsibility for the moral and spiritual upbringing of young males, with guidance offered by elder mentors and support coming from extended family or community. Writing in a calm, compassionate voice, Gurian delivers a compelling call to action. 50,000 first printing; author tour. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Family therapist Gurian (Mothers, Sons, and Lovers, LJ 12/93) offers a sweeping look at what makes boys and men act the way they do. He begins by thoroughly defining gender differences. Citing the strong push to hunt and reproduce, he argues that men need to compete and do combat and that society must accommodate these needs more productively. A boy needs a tribe, says Gurian, and not one but three families (birth or adoptive parents, extended families, and culture/community) are required to help him become a healthy man. Also, Gurian stresses discipline, spiritual principles, and "husbandry," which he defines as "generating and maintaining stable relationships with self, family, community, culture, and earth." All told, there is much to ponder and much to challenge readers here. On the other hand, Jungian analyst Rutter (Woman Changing Woman, LJ 7/93) begins with a large chip on her shoulder, whining from the start that girls are subjected to unbelievable pressures that diminish their self-esteem. Though she seeks to "celebrate" womanhood, the result is the oppositethe tone turns ever inward, focusing almost solely on issues of self-worth. Rutter praises rites of passage, coming-of-age ceremonies, and informal rituals (e.g., sharing a candlelit bath with your daughter, buying a first bra together) as the keys to enhancing self-esteem. She also recommends books and films that she feels reproduce positive images for women, including Thelma and Louise. Ultimately, however, what Rutter seems to be doing is turning mothers and daughters into members of a self-absorbed "me" generation. Not recommended.Linda Beck, Indian Valley P.L., Telford, Pa.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781572700208
Publisher:
Audio Partners Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
08/28/1996
Edition description:
Abridged, 2 Cassettes
Product dimensions:
4.64(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.62(d)

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Meet the Author

Michael Gurian is a psychotherapist and bestselling author whose books include The Wonder of Boys and The Good Son. His work reflects the diverse cultures (European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and American) in which he lived, worked, and studied. He has taught psychology, religion, mythology, and literature at three American universities and at Ankara University in Turkey. He lives with his wife and two children in Spokane, Washington.

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