I started this website exactly a year ago. Here’s a little update on how things have evolved.
This is still a “small” website. Our traffic is not in the millions or hundreds of thousands. But it certainly is growing. We get visitors from all over the world, from every continent and almost every country. I get emails from people with very different backgrounds and excellent responses from many professionals in different areas of working with children. If we were not such a small website (it’s basically just me running the whole thing as well as writing regular blogs and other columns) we could reach a much larger audience!
There is strong interest in – and desperate need for – efforts to address the problems children in general, and boys in particular, are facing.
The situation of boys is not improving: much talk and little action
After a year of doing research for this site I have found that while there is a good deal of talk about the problems boys and their families are having, there is not enough action. Many mothers have expressed their frustration to me that despite all the books that are written on the topic and all the media coverage, nothing has really changed. As one mother put it, it seems that a “bad boy industry” has been created that essentially “just puts out a lot of blabbing.”
I have also learned that the “boy crisis” exists on a global scale. Judging from visits on this site, practically in every country and every culture people are having a hard time raising boys and the boys themselves are not having an easy time of growing up.
Mothers are frustrated and overburdened
From the response I have gotten in the past year I have become even more convinced of everything I said in my introductory piece in From the Editor. The “boy problem” is not going away and mothers are pretty much left alone to solve it.
“We want our boys to be free spirits and civilized people.” This is what I wrote last year in my introductory piece. I regularly hear from mothers who share this wish with me. And they are disappointed that enough progress is not made in that direction. We are still frustrated and worried. The responsibility on the shoulder of mothers is still the greatest. We try our hardest but receive very little support.
It certainly appears that on the boy issue there has been more consciousness-raising than action. It really is time to see more action.
And my own evolving “bad boy” story...
It has been quite a year! Last year at this time I had absolutely no idea that on the anniversary of the launch of this website I would have pulled my son out of school to homeschool him and moved out of the city. I had no idea that the difficulties my son was having would have such an impact on all our lives. But that goes to show how serious these difficulties are.
My blog, Clara’s Clearing, turned into a record of how my son was practically pushed out of school by fellow students and how his teacher stood by while it happened, and even subtly set a model for it and encouraged it. Here’s the story of how Jack was literally voted out of class. Here’s a description of how we felt about it. And as I wrote here, I felt it was quite ironic that while I was advocating for “bad boys” my own boy fell victim to some real bad behavior. But as I have said in many blogs the bad behavior of children reflects the deficiencies of their environment and the hypocrisies of the adults in their lives.
What I did find out when I started homeschooling, however, is that my own “bad boy” problem was over. It was the school environment that was making life hard on all of us, including the kids whose bad behavior drove us out. In this blog I wonder out loud what to do with this website now that I don’t suffer from “bad boy” problems and now that my own “boy crisis” is for the most part over.
Many readers encouraged me not to drop the ball! I am not going to. My interest in the raising and education of children is a long-term one. While my son was in school my involvement with children was a reactive one: it was a reaction to what was happening to us. Now my involvement is proactive and indeed more creative. In this series of blogs I record my everyday adventures in giving my son an education outside school.
My main inspiration in continuing with this website now is to help create a healthy and happy culture for children, one in which imagination and compassion flourish. As a publisher I have ideas on how to help children themselves create this culture. Stay tuned…