he'll start acting like one. Compare and contrast:
1. Boy, 10, goes to Sunday School class taught by a woman. Sits at a table, listens to stories, performs tasks such as word searches, mazes. Gets candy rewards for things like bringing his Bible, having his verse memorized. Boy gets bored, fidgets and sometimes misbehaves. Boy comes home feeling deflated and relieved that it's over.
2. Boy, 10, who is a Cub Scout, goes to a Boy Scout event run by older boys and men. Boy is immediately put onto a team with other boys and performs tasks such as pulling a sled (yes, the boys are the sled dogs), building a fire, cooking a meal*, crossing a river on a rope suspended overhead. Boy is engaged mentally and physically. There is not time to be bored, to fidget, to misbehave. Boy comes home exhausted but energized and ready for more.
OK, these are just two little anecdotes from one boy's life. But they illustrate the problem so many boys suffer from: too little expectation for manly behavior, too much exposure to feminine ways of learning and doing.
Not all boys suffer in Sunday School, even when the hardest "work" is a word matchup wherein all the words that match are already highlighted in matching colors. (Don't want to bother reading? No need. Just find the yellow rectangle in this column, and draw a line to the yellow rectangle in that column.) Boredom in class is never, ever an excuse for misbehavior. But it can explain the reason for misbehavior. And boys need to learn to sit still and listen, and participate in "classroom" activities. Maybe after they get some energy out. And without a piece of candy as a performance reward?
Of course some boys don't want to live up to those manly expectations. At least one boy found a reason to leave the Boy Scout event early. I don't know his reason, other than that he hadn't looked forward to it in the first place, and wasn't enjoying it. Some boys prefer a quieter day. Some would rather be home with their x-boxes, or their backyard soccer game, or the tv.
But my boy? Oh, he thrived. A boy who can be so lazy at home just dove into the work. Now of course it was fun. But a lot of it was hard. And it was expected of him by all the boys and men around him.
Now I need to find an event that blends the two: manly activities taught in an atmosphere permeated with teaching about the love of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. Maybe a summer camp?
*OK, meal is defined loosely here. A hamburger wrapped in foil and cooked on the grill. Steamed, actually. Ick. But, you know, he wouldn't starve.