Somewhere along the lines, society has forgotten what it once knew about raising boys. In their book Raising Boys by Design: What the Bible and Brain Science Reveal about what Your Son Needs to Thrive, Gregory L. Jantz and Michael Gurian (WaterBrook Press, 2013) set out to remind us of things that we used to know. (Disgust with our insistence that we be “PC” regardless of the damage inflicted is purely mine – and not hinted at in any way by the authors).
Jantz and Gurion point out that boys learn/grow/develop/mature differently than girls do, (Yes, we’ve forgotten what used to be obvious) and that one boy will develop differently than other boys, even those raised in the same family, neighborhood or culture. My personal take from this book is that there are a lot of theories out there about raising children, and when people try to apply them universally, without considering the uniqueness of each child, we get into trouble, and raise troubled kids.
The authors encourage us as parents and others involved in raising boys to not try to place each child into a predetermined mold, but rather to celebrate their uniqueness.
This is not just an opinion book; it’s based on personal experiences, biblical teaching, and scientific observations. It’s not a book that is can be read cover to cover without stopping to digest some of the important truths that are being shared.
One of the things that is especially helpful is the roadmap to development for which the authors use the acronym HERO: Honor, Enterprise, Responsibility and Originality (see page 72). Later in the book they will expand HERO to HEROIC and add Intimacy and Creativity (pg 184).
Many cultures have rites of passage for boys turning into men, and although there are some here too (high school graduation, drivers license, among others) the authors are proponents of intentional rites of passage, which include mentoring and studying to learn what being a man really means. The period of study is followed, in the example used in this book, by a public celebration. The example used here involves a scriptural basis and the boys along with dads and mentors, studied the book of Mark as they were involved in service and bonding activities.
Each chapter concludes with a series of “next steps” which help the reader to become more aware of some of the issues involved, and as the questions are answered, it becomes obvious what must be done next.
This book will be useful for anyone involved in the process of boys to men: Dads, grandpas, teachers, youth pastors, pastors, and yes even Moms.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review