Yes, Rosalind, boys do have deep emotional lives. Not all of those emotions are feminine, and that doesn’t make boys “problems” that need to be solved.

19 Sep

I haven’t read this book by Rosalind Wiseman, the author of Queen Bees and Wannabees (later turned into the movie Mean Girls), but I have it on order, because I think Rosalind might get boys a little better than the average person.

book

I’m basing all of my comments today on the review published in the Atlantic, and on the reviews posted by customers at Amazon.com.

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/09/boys-have-deep-emotional-lives/279359/

http://www.amazon.com/Masterminds-Wingmen-Schoolyard-Locker-Room-Girlfriends/dp/0804128278?tag=vglnk-c53-20

Rosalind’s basic premise seems spot on.

Great young men want to have rich emotional lives, but everywhere they turn, people are forcing them to live the stereotype of being a sexist, not-caring, emotionally disengaged, superficial guy. It’s amazing because we turn around and get angry with them when they go over the line, without acknowledging what we do as adults that stifles and silences and shuts boys up from being emotionally engaged people.

It’s kind of incredible that we need a book explaining to parents that boys have emotions, but there you have it.  What concerns me about books like these is the possibility that only certain emotions are recognized as valid and worthy – the ones that girls tend to be good at.  I worry that emotions like empathy, fear, sadness and tenderness are prized over emotions like anger, defiance, dominance and stoicism.

Of course, both boys and girls experience the full range of human emotions, and while I think we can all agree that every emotion is perfectly valid, HOW those emotions are expressed comes in for some very harsh assessments when it comes to boys.

biting

There is a big difference, too, between acknowledging an emotional response and endorsing how that emotion is expressed.  We don’t hesitate to inform our toddlers that they may not bite other people no matter how angry they feel, or how justified that anger is.  It’s not the anger that’s wrong, it’s the biting.  We teach them better ways to express their anger.

I cringe a little when I hear parents and teachers say “use your words” as an alternate method of expressing X emotion.

Using words is the way that girls tend to express their feelings.  Of course, not EVERY little girl wants to talk about her feelings, and plenty of little boys are more than willing to express themselves verbally, but in general, it’s girls who like to “use their words”.  And that isn’t a product of socialization. Gender differences are present from birth. From the moment they are born, girls prefer to look at “social objects” – faces, and boys prefer to look at “physical-mechanical” objects – a mobile.

http://www.math.kth.se/matstat/gru/5b1501/F/sex.pdf

Even baby primates will choose their toys based on their gender.  Girl vervet monkeys play with the doll and boy vervet monkeys play with the car.

gender-toys-macaques

http://www.livescience.com/22677-girls-dolls-boys-toy-trucks.html

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this at all, but there is something very wrong when we act as though the girl’s innate desire to nurture is better than the boy’s innate desire to run shit over with his car.

What makes me hopeful about Rosalind is that she apparently provides an example of a boy reacting with anger and violence, and punching a hole through the drywall.  Her solution is to hand him some drywall and teach him how to repair the damage.

That is probably exactly what my husband would do if our teenage son put his fist through drywall, too.  He would learn a whole lot about to repair walls and a long discussion about appropriate responses would follow.

Appropriate responses, however, does not mean NON-VIOLENT responses.

Sometimes, violence is exactly what the doctor ordered. Reducing our home’s value by busting up the walls is not an acceptable form of violence,  but there ARE forms that are more than acceptable.

call-of-duty-mw31

Virtual violence is an excellent way to work through some anger and aggression.  A reviewer at Amazon quotes Rosalind at length on the subject, and it looks like maybe she gets it.

“I know is seems impossible to believe that a violent video game based on society’s total destruction would make a guy feel more connected to other people and better about himself. If you look at the game he’s referring to, you may really have a hard time believing it. But what we think doesn’t matter. If boys are telling us that their real lives are so hard and they feel so worthless that escaping into a virtual world makes them feel better about themselves, that’s their truth and it needs to be respected.”

http://www.amazon.com/Masterminds-Wingmen-Schoolyard-Locker-Room-Girlfriends/product-reviews/0804128278/ref=cm_cr_pr_top_link_1?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

What makes me a little queasy is the idea that boys lives are “so hard” and they “feel worthless”.  Is that something boys actually told her, or is she projecting, based on her own interpretation of what triggers anger and the desire for violence in herself?

Maybe boys just wanna blow some shit up?  Because it’s fun to blow shit up.  It makes boys feel powerful, capable, courageous, dominant.

I’m sure the mums at mumsnet would go absolutely ballistic if they knew the kind of stuff I let my son do, but as parents, my husband and I are engaged in showing our son how to use his desire to be powerful and dominant and courageous for good.  There is nothing whatsoever wrong with boys saying “I want to dominate”.

The question is what?

The operating room as the cardiologist?  Cool.

The nuclear plant as the top physicist?  Cool.

The police station as the lead detective?  Cool

The physically disabled boy in class?  Not cool.

I’m going to show my ignorance about video gaming here, but I’ll tell you what I know and how I understand the situation.

So, LittleDude plays the Call of Duty games on his Xbox.  He can describe the weapons in detail, he knows how to identify particular strategies, he knows about the conflicts the games are portraying, he knows the difference between urban traditional warfare and what the challenges are, he knows the reasons for particular conflicts, he can identify the tanks and planes and trucks and what have you.

Because he plays with his Dad and they discuss all these things in detail.  They also have an ongoing conversation about the ethics of war.  I think the game punishes you if you do unethical things like shoot your own team mates, and behaving “right” is a huge part of how Mr. JB and LittleDude play.

LittleDude is also allowed to play the game online, but only when his Dad is playing with him.  He cannot go and interact with other players on his own.  The rule is that he can only play online with adult supervision.

ops

I’m not sure how this all works, but somehow, they get messages.

So, Mr. JB and LittleDude were playing Black Ops on line, and then a message popped up banning LittleDude from any future play.  Why?  Because no one else could even get a shot off before he killed them.  He’s too good and he wrecks the game for everyone else.  Then another message appeared asking LittleDude to play a scene (?) in an upcoming Call of Duty.  Apparently, one of the programmers was watching him play online and asked him to “test” a new scenario.

LittleDude is seven years old.  He’s pretty excited that it’s possible to write and play video games for a living, and if you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he will say “I want to play video games”.

Cue the snarky eyerolls from other parents, but you know what?  Fuck them.  He might be seven, but he understands how games are made (from computer code) and how they are tested (in beta versions) and that yes, people really DO play video games for a living.

That’s teaching him how to translate his desire for power and dominance and aggression into something positive.  Next year, when he is eight, he will be enrolling in his first mixed martial arts class, where he will learn how to use ACTUAL violence in a responsible and mature manner.  He will learn to defend himself and act aggressively to protect others, if required.  He will learn how to channel his desire to beat the crap out of people and things.

He will not be taught that his desires are wrong and bad. Oh, the girls will be going, too. Chokeholds are important skills for girls to master, too.

mma

Pixie and I totally bond on this subject, and she was recently the recipient of a ton of Mommy wrath when she suggested that a child with a colostomy bag could ward off teasing by carrying some firecrackers.  Pixie had her very fragile son out at an adventure camp for physically challenged children, where she stood by and watched him go rock climbing and parasailing and boating and hike up steep mountains.

camp

Pixie refuses to wrap her son in cotton wool or teach him that he must squash his desire to take risks because he was unlucky enough to be born with a few problems.

Screw that.  He’s still a boy.

So when the conversation came up about how another boy with a colostomy bag would deal with the eventual teasing and bullying, she told him to carry firecrackers.  He could light them, shove them in his colostomy bag and launch a shit grenade at any dickbags who think bullying the kid with no functioning intestines is a good idea.

grenade

I think it’s a bloody genius idea.

The other mamas didn’t agree and Pixie got shunned for the rest of the trip. Girl aggression.  Le sigh.

This November, LittleDude will be going out with the men and making his first kill, too.  Fish don’t count.  He’s killed lots of fish.  Using a crossbow, he will be given the choice to make the shot that kills a deer, which we will butcher and use for meat over the winter.  If he chooses to take the shot – he doesn’t have to, he will also be rewarded with his first beer around the campfire.

deer

Mr. JB and our friend DuckGuy are both preparing LittleDude for the emotional consequences of killing.  They talk with him about not wanting the responsibility of death, and that he does not have to shoot.  He should only shoot if he feels ready.  There is no pressure to “man up” or any bullshit like that.  They have let him know that he will probably cry, and that is totally normal, too.

I don’t contribute much to these prep conversations, but just shut up and listen.  I’ve never killed anything bigger than a chicken myself, so I don’t know how it feels.  But left to their own devices, men experience and manage ALL their emotions without shame or blame or needing to characterize one set of feelings as better than another.

My son is blessed to have these men around him.

So yeah, I think it’s great that Rosalind wants to kickstart a discussion about the deep emotional lives of boys, but the second it veers off into condemning boy’s desires for the “unacceptable” feelings – to be powerful, to be dominant, to control people and things – it becomes just another weapon designed to demonize men and masculinity.

That isn’t going to help anyone, in the long run.  Fierce little boys who want to master their worlds and who cry when they kill their first deer grow into men who really do learn to master their worlds and who cry when they hold their newborn sons.

baby

What boys need, more than anything else, is OTHER MEN to guide them through those transitions.

All the books in the world aren’t going to replace a community of men who take responsibility for shepherding their sons into adulthood.

We have a name for those men.

They’re called fathers.

And every child deserves one.

It’s a basic human right. That’s what this whole movement boils down to, doesn’t it?  The assurance of basic human rights for everyone, including the right to have and be a father.  Not the obligation.  The right.

Until that day happens, we will all keep fighting.  And blowing shit up, sometimes out of frustration, and sometimes, just because it’s fun!

gi jane

Lt. Blondell: Lieutenant, why are you doing this?

Lt. Jordan O’Neil: Do you ask the men the same question?

Lt. Blondell: As a matter of fact: yes, I do ask them.

Lt. Jordan O’Neil: And what do they say?

Lt. Blondell: “Cause I get to blow shit up.”

Lt. Jordan O’Neil: Well, there you go.

Lots of love,

JB

51 Responses to “Yes, Rosalind, boys do have deep emotional lives. Not all of those emotions are feminine, and that doesn’t make boys “problems” that need to be solved.”

  1. The Real Peterman September 19, 2013 at 15:48 #

    I can’t stop laughing at the firecracker/colostomy bag idea! That is hall-of-fame.

    • feeriker September 19, 2013 at 19:10 #

      Echoed.

      The physically disabled boy in class? Not cool.

      I think Pixie might just wind up helping her son evolve into the class “most likely to succeed” (I can’t think of a term applicable to/appropriate for prepubescent boys that corresponds to “alpha male”).

      What an awesome thing that would be: the boy with disabilities who everyone thought would count him out becomes the one his peers look up to.

  2. B September 19, 2013 at 15:52 #

    I think it’s absolutely great that you let little due play COD. :-)

    My son just turned 7 two weeks ago and my husband and my husband and I allow him to play COD as well. I always get a scolding from my family and friends (even those who are gamers) about the “dangers” of letting my son play such a “violent” game. Online play is monitored by my husband of course. My son plays for fun and also likes to play if he’s had a bad day at school. Nothing better than an epic kill shot at the end of a horrible day.

    Video games are huge in my home. (My husband and I both grew up playing video games with our dads; one of my earliest memories is playing the original [gold] legend of Zelda on the NES with my dad). I defiantly owe my interest in gaming (and comics/manga/anime) to my father (thanks dad!). We own a sega dreamcast, PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, SNES, a gaming PC and a variety of handhelds as well.

    Where I live, it gets too hot (sometimes up to 110 or more!) in the summer- so when we we’re not able to escape to the beach or mountains, we spend a lot of time indoors until the evening comes (in the evening it’s cools off enough to get some outdoor time). A lot of that time is spent playing video games as a family. Even our 2 year old daughter knows enough to join in. My husband is going to take our son to E3 when he’s old enough. :-)

    I defiantly need to give Rosalind’s book a read for sure. Love your blog JB, take care!

  3. MrPantsOnFire September 19, 2013 at 18:54 #

    What always amazes me when a lot of women talk about men and boys is their reinforcement of gender roles. This author is no exception, she still considers it a duty or obligation for men to protect their totally wasted daughters at frat parties.

    Men and boys have no more obligations to their original gender roles than women do. Being under the protection of men is a privilege and not a right. If you want men to extend that privilege to you will have to earn it and give them the respect they deserve.

    Boys should be under no obligation to risk their lives for anyone unless they choose to.

  4. freetofish September 19, 2013 at 19:11 #

    I remember as a kid, about little dudes age, getting suspended from school for a couple days for getting into a schoolyard fight. I will always remember my grandmother’s disdain for the school. She was a tough old WW2 bride from south England who married my grandfather, a Canadian soldier in 1942.

    She just could not believe a school would suspend a young boy for getting into a fist fight. Her brothers used to get into fights almost every day with other neighbourhood farm boys. Was the highlight of their day. It was how they tested themselves and established a social pecking order. When they got home, her mother would just sigh and shake her head over the bruises and black eyes.

    So much of what is wrong with young boys and men today is from the last 30+ years of everything masculine being see as “bad”. JB you would be shouted down from on high by so many women over letting Mr.JB and his friends being the role model for Little Dude. How pretell are you supposed to raise a sensitive, evolved man this way?

    • The Real Peterman September 20, 2013 at 00:27 #

      I think that’s a lot of how men learn(ed) to behave: when they were a kid, if they stepped on too many toes they got socked. Women did not have that experience, which is why you see feminists shrieking at men for standing too close to them.

  5. Joel Daniels September 19, 2013 at 20:00 #

    When I was in high school, my best friend and I amused ourselves by blowing shit up – for real, with black powder purchased from the gun shop. Still have all our body parts despite some close calls. Had a great time and made lots of memories.

    I can also tell you that killing your first higher order mammal is a surprisingly stressful experience. I had killed lots of small things before my first deer – dove, quail, chickens, frogs, snakes, etc. Also had extensive experience shooting all sorts of weapons while I was in the Army. But when I drew a bead on my first deer, I was astonished at how high my heart rate and breathing went up. I was physically unable to hold the rifle steady. Took quite a while to get calmed down enough to aim and fire. Best wishes to LittleDude for his first kill and beer.

    • Misguided Child September 20, 2013 at 14:46 #

      It is called BUCK FEVER, and it is very common even with experienced hunters that have decades of experience.

      Semper Fidelis

  6. Thomas September 19, 2013 at 21:28 #

    Your son could check out the channel “Roberts Space Industries” on youtube. They document the creation of a space game, and show in a lot of detail how the programmers and artists work.

  7. Eric September 20, 2013 at 00:24 #

    JB,

    What do you and Mr. JB think of the Boy Scouts for your son?

    Keoni Galt had a compelling post about his Boy Scouts experience and positive masculinity:

    http://hawaiianlibertarian.blogspot.com/2012/12/be-prepared.html

    I wasn’t a Boy Scout. It wasn’t an option I considered as a boy nor was it brought up to me. However, if I could do over my boyhood, I’d join the BSA. Heck, I wonder if there’s a version for adult men.

    • Alex September 20, 2013 at 05:34 #

      it’s certainly useful, though it’s a good idea to check out who’s in it. might run into some feminists and manginas who wouldn’t take well to not following the grain

      • Eric September 20, 2013 at 17:07 #

        That’s why I asked. The answer isn’t as easy as it looks on 1st glance.

        The founding purpose of the BSA is men teaching boys practical skills and social values, how to be men, in a structured manner with a paternalistic hierarchy. But, enrolling one’s son in the Boy Scouts is outsourcing fundamental masculine lessons that it seems JB and Mr. JB want to keep within Mr. JB’s direct control. The value of BSA’s practical skills training is unquestionably red pill. But the BSA’s social values teaching isn’t necessarily red pill, and as you point out, one must be wary of who’s doing the social values teaching and what they’re teaching young impressionable Boy Scouts. Feminists have targeted the BSA like they have other male-centered organizations.

        • Keen Observer September 21, 2013 at 03:50 #

          FWIW, in Canada, Scouting has become more and more gender integrated, based on the “recruitment” signs I see around. I don’t see that ending well…

  8. The Real Peterman September 20, 2013 at 00:30 #

    “If boys are telling us that their real lives are so hard and they feel so worthless ”

    That’s how I often felt. Heck, I usually feel that way still.

  9. Daniel Reeves September 20, 2013 at 00:35 #

    If i can make a small suggestion, you should consider getting Battlefield for your son. It’s very similar to Call of Duty, but it’s just more intelligent.
    The maps are much bigger so there’s less “running around a corner blind and whoever wins is the person with the fastest reflex’s”.
    Also, unlike CoD, he would be able to get in boats, jets, helicopters, tanks, etcetera – it’s a little boys dream.
    It has a singleplayer with with voice acting and political warfare themes, just like the CoD games.
    If you’re curious to see what the multiplayer looks like, this video will give you an idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SRxs5xYWuo

    Cheers!

    • judgybitch September 20, 2013 at 00:35 #

      Cool! Thanks!

    • patriarchal landmine September 20, 2013 at 04:35 #

      seconded.

      • Daniel Reeves September 20, 2013 at 07:44 #

        Thanks, my belief that it’s a superior game is second to the fact that it’s simply more intelligent, requires a bit more thinking to succeed in. Not to say the controls won’t be fairly identical.

  10. Emma September 20, 2013 at 01:06 #

    He will have a beer at the age of 7?? Is your son learning to express his emotions and bond with men more important than damaging his developing brain??

    • judgybitch September 20, 2013 at 01:08 #

      Yeah. One beer. Instant brain damage!

      Are you fucking kidding me?!?!

      • zykos September 20, 2013 at 02:44 #

        Not to mention that, if he’s 7, chances are, he’s going to drink a sip, find it disgusting, and decide not to drink it (I’m assuming of course, that the men won’t force him, and from what you describe, that sounds unlikely). It’s about “being let into the group of grown men”. Initiation and the acceptance into a restricted group is a huge part of experiencing manhood, I think it’s an excellent idea.

      • Daniel Reeves September 20, 2013 at 04:16 #

        Hahaha awesome, my family always figured if you don’t make a big deal about alcohol kids won’t make such a big deal of it either.

        • Rhyan September 23, 2013 at 01:37 #

          Having a bit of beer as a kid does wonders in demystifying alcohol and makes it less appealing on the grounds of “Not allowed, must have.”

          Just like cigarettes. I thought smoking must have been awesome since my parents did it. First puff I thought WTF is wrong with people for doing that shit??

      • Misguided Child September 20, 2013 at 14:50 #

        I hope you are not currently living in the USA. CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES will kidnap your children. And they have done it for a lot less than a single beer.

        “They Kidnapped our Child”: Why CPS Needs Transparency Now

        http://reason.com/reasontv/2013/08/12/they-kidnapped-our-child-why-cps-needs-t

        Semper Fidelis

        • judgybitch September 20, 2013 at 14:53 #

          That’s frightening, but unlikely. Young boys handling weapons and having a beer is pretty common around here. CPS would need to send out a lot of agents. I’m not sure they could find a family where that HASN’T happened.

          It’s especially true given the economic conditions around here. Hunting for meat has become a survival strategy. There are many families who only have wild protein sources.

      • ElizabethS September 20, 2013 at 16:00 #

        I drank since I was 4 and I’m alright *twitch twitch* But that’s Great Britain for you.

    • Feminism Is A Lie September 20, 2013 at 04:13 #

      Now that I recall, my family let me try their beer when I was about 7. I also tried lots of coffee. I guess that must’ve caused some undetected brain damage which is probably why I’ve been manipulated into opposing feminism, right? Right?

      • Exfernal September 21, 2013 at 23:37 #

        With parabolic dose-response relationship way below LCt50? Highly unlikely.

        You know, even too much water could be lethal. Moderation in all things.

        • Exfernal September 22, 2013 at 00:07 #

          Eh, not parabolic but sigmoidal.

    • Master Beta September 20, 2013 at 08:52 #

      I remember having a glass of champagne on new years eve when I was 8. And I did a physics masters at Oxford. Shit if not for that one glass of sparkly I’d be a freakin’ super-genius.

      • Keen Observer September 21, 2013 at 03:54 #

        Yeah, I know what you mean. My dad let me sip his beer when I was about that age. The experience affected me so profoundly, I didn’t touch alcohol again until I was 16 and on exchange in West Germany.

    • Tom Accuosti September 20, 2013 at 18:41 #

      New reader here, and I just *knew* that somebody was going to complain about that one thing. Apparently Emma is unfamiliar with how alcohol is perceived elsewhere on the planet.

      My grandparents (both sides) always let the children try some wine at dinners, with the idea that exposure when you’re young will remove the “forbidden, taboo” allure. Apparently it worked, and my parents always allowed us to have some when we were younger. And as Zykos states, we rarely had more than a few sips because wine and beer just don’t sit well on a child’s palate.

      I carried on the tradition with my daughter, and at 18, she’s pretty “Meh” about drinking.

      Oh, and she likes to blow up stuff, too.

  11. Ter September 20, 2013 at 02:14 #

    I don’t agree that violent video games are some kind of modern-optimal outlet for male aggression. I would encourage my son into competitive sports (eg. marital arts, football, etc) where he can learn some natural respect in the process. Even an intense session at the gym can do wonders, both for venting frustration physically and benefiting from a natural high afterwards. Even better when working out with an equally motivated gym buddy.

    • GrimGhost September 20, 2013 at 03:17 #

      Right, the way for your son to learn to be a man is for his mother to decide what are “acceptable” forms of male aggression. Pfft, what does Mr. JB know?

      • judgybitch September 20, 2013 at 12:49 #

        Oh come on now. Did you miss the part where he only plays with his Dad? The his Dad and another friend are the ones preparing him for the hunt? That he would repair a smashed wall with his Dad?

        Have I really left the impression that my husband somehow needed my “permission” to decide how to raise his OWN son?

        Honestly, I think you’re making my main point here: women should NOT be the ones to take boys into manhood.

        I think I’m pretty good at understanding that and standing aside.

        • GrimGhost September 20, 2013 at 19:56 #

          JB, I wasn’t criticizing you, I was responding to Ter’s post, that somehow being a boy’s mother gives her the knowledge and the right to decide what are acceptable forms of masculinity for her son.

          • judgybitch September 20, 2013 at 19:58 #

            Crap!!

            Sorry then! It’s hard to track the threads on my phone.

            I was surprised! I should have known better.

            Sorry, Ghost.

          • Ter September 20, 2013 at 22:54 #

            Really? And where do I say anything about a boy’s mother’s ? I was purely stating my own opinion about better ways to channel aggression in boys & young men.

  12. Feminism Is A Lie September 20, 2013 at 04:21 #

    LittleDude sounds like a brilliant kid!

    Props to Pixie for the colostomy bag + firecracker idea. We may not all have the same start in life, but it doesn’t mean kids should be taught to think of themselves as perpetual victims.

  13. Tytalus September 20, 2013 at 07:06 #

    I hate to be a wet blanket on video games, but I say this as an recovering gamer myself… But read Leonard Sax’s “Boys Adrift” – it was published in 2007, I’m not sure where the scholarly research has gone, but it was very interesting. There was also compelling points about limiting video game use.

    I agree, HOW the video game use is spent matters (alone, vs with dad &/or friends)

  14. Spaniard September 20, 2013 at 09:50 #

    I belong to a generation who have grown hearing ALL THE TIME, from female lips, that men should be more emotional, more in touch with “their femenine side”, more gentle, more warm hearted, more feminist, or at least, being supportive to feminism.
    Then, when men started behaving that way… women have laugh about them and they went to shag with da madafakas, the rudes, the cold hearted, the batterers, the misoginists, the male chauvinist pigs, the brutes, the pimps…

    Oh, dear….

    • Ter September 20, 2013 at 23:05 #

      It’s true. Basically, most women do not want to see men being vulnerable – physically or emotionally. Latest example – “Man Flu”. ie. Don’t even think of taking a little time off for yourself because you’re not feeling well – or you’ll be ridiculed for being weak (and later you’ll be accused of not taking care of your health). Nothing new unfortunately.

      • Spaniard September 21, 2013 at 11:24 #

        Then, I do not understand why women ask men to be more “in touch with their femenine side”.

        • h26ioz1q September 23, 2013 at 13:57 #

          Modern women are insane, maybe? /laugh

  15. Dire Badger September 20, 2013 at 19:52 #

    It takes a man to raise a man.

    I was always large for my age.

    “Do not hit littler kids, or girls, even if they pick on you. that will make you a bully.” My first grade teacher said while she watched over me in detention.
    “Ignore bullies and they will go away” Said the school nurse, tending my scraped knees and busted lip in the third grade after getting beaten up and not fighting back.
    “People only pick on you because they are scared of you. Don’t give them a reason to be and they will stop.” Said the school psychologist, after I got knocked unconscious by a brutal girl bully whom I didn’t fight back against.
    “just turn the other cheek” my mother said, after I got my eye literally popped out of it’s socket by a much smaller boy trying to show off his ‘martial arts training’
    “What the fuck is wrong with you?” My coach said, after i got teased and beat up by a bunch of other kids in my middle school gym class “You are twice those kid’s size, why do you let them beat the crap out of you like that? They will NEVER stop until you hurt them so badly that they never touch you again!”

    Thanks Coach. you may not have had a PhD in education, but you knew reality when you saw it. And you were right, so so right.

  16. Keen Observer September 21, 2013 at 04:06 #

    JB, I work at a software company, so I see testing up close and personal-like. There are differences, I’m sure, between my kind of software (sector-specific mapping/GIS/data/analysis) and game software in terms of the testing process and what can go wrong, but one thing I’m relatively sure of: it requires an almost-autistic focus to be good at it and enjoy it, because it is intensely repetitive. One of my co-workers knew a guy who did testing at EA (I think it was) for one of the MLB releases. His job was seeing what happened if you hit 100 consecutive home runs…then 1,000…then 10,000…and so on. I’ve done a bit of that kind of testing, and it almost drove me nuts (short trip).

    If you think LittleDude’ll be able to handle that when he’s older, more power to him. The world needs good QA Testers. But if the interest is still there later on, he may find he’d rather create the content than test it.

    My two cents’ worth.

  17. bcc September 24, 2013 at 18:08 #

    Wow, I would love to see this widely distributed. What an excellent essay. It sounds like your son has splendid role models, lucky little guy. I’m going to refer a few people to this post, it’s a message that deserves a bigger audience.

  18. jackbarnesmra October 22, 2013 at 15:32 #

    “Mr. JB and our friend DuckGuy are both preparing LittleDude for the emotional consequences of killing. They talk with him about not wanting the responsibility of death, and that he does not have to shoot. He should only shoot if he feels ready. There is no pressure to “man up” or any bullshit like that. They have let him know that he will probably cry, and that is totally normal, too.”

    Glad your son is going hunting. That is awesome. Some of my favorite memories of the times i have spent with my dad are of our hunting trips together. Your son will build memories that he will carry for the rest of his life. It is a very good thing.

    I dont ever really remember wanting to cry after making a kill. Maybe it was the way i grew up. I live on a farm way out in the country. I saw death and killing all the time. It is a part of nature. Creatures die. Animals kill each other. They eat each other. Its the way it is. Its the food chain. I was always raised to feel as if Im a part of it. Im a part of nature and a part of the food chain. The Indians would pray to God after killing an animal. They would that their brother (deer, elk, bear etc) for giving his life so that he may eat him and live. I’m not above the food chain. Im not outside of it. Im part of it. So i dont feel sad for participating in it. The only time my feelings were ever hurt was when the animal I shot didnt die right away. That did bother me.

    In my opinion if your soon is going to feel sad enough to cry after killing a deer he shouldnt do it. That’s just my opinion. Im so very glad that your husband and his friends wont laugh at him for not pulling the trigger.

    Deer meat MMMMMMM. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

    • HaberdasherFetishist October 27, 2013 at 17:21 #

      “Creatures die. Animals kill each other. They eat each other. Its the way it is. Its the food chain. I was always raised to feel as if Im a part of it. Im a part of nature and a part of the food chain.”

      And yet people get upset and start screaming about “ethics” and “empathy” whenever I rape or kill somebody…

      I don’t see why. If it happens in nature, it must be ok, right?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. News of the Week for September 29th, 2013 | The Political Hat - September 30, 2013

    […] Yes, Rosalind, boys do have deep emotional lives. Not all of those emotions are feminine, and that d… I haven’t read this book by Rosalind Wiseman, the author of Queen Bees and Wannabees (later turned into the movie Mean Girls), but I have it on order, because I think Rosalind might get boys a little better than the average person. […]

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