Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Boys will be Boys

The other day, as I was driving home from work, I heard a radio personality talking about the Miami Dolphin's Jonathan Martin case.  Jonathan Martin had been harassed by a teammate Richie Incognito.  This talk show host's solution for Jonathan Martin was to "be a man" and "punch Incognito in the face."  He went on to talk about how men aren't allowed to be men anymore.  

Similarly, I have sat in on several meetings with a parents who have made the comment "it's just boys being boys" in response to their male children's misbehavior.  

Is it really true that boys simply can't behave?  Is it true that "boys are boys" and therefore do not have the ability to control themselves?

Is it really true that the way to be a man is to punch someone in the face as a way of solving conflict?

I've been alive for 36 years.  For a good portion of my life, I was a boy.  For the remaining time in my life, I have been a man.  I'm having a bit of an identity crisis.  In the 8 years I have been in school administration, I have had plenty of opportunities to deal with conflict, yet I have never solved any conflict by punching someone in the face.  Nor have I had a situation where the male teachers solve conflict by punching each other.  

I have dealt with many boy students.  Successful boy students do not regularly misbehave.

Why then, do we hold this standard?  Why is it that people accept that men are supposed to act like animals even though we rarely see this as a way successful men act?  Why do we allow behaviors that are inappropriate in children by saying "boys will be boys" when we don't see examples of successful students coming from these behaviors.  

This seems to be setting a standard that will lead to unsuccessful male students.  In my school, nearly 90% of all behavior referrals come from our male students.  It seems time that we begin talking about boys as in control of their behaviors and not accepting or perpetuating the idea of "boys will be boys."

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