What do boys need?
I recently put that question to two boys. Their answers:
3. Trading cards
4. Video games
7. Junk food
In case you haven’t guessed, that list was 100% boy-generated. Boy #2 and a friend paused their Pokemon game long enough to help me after I decided that my list lacked pizzazz.
Compared to theirs, my list is downright boring:
1. A close friend that “gets” him
2. Access to dirt
3. Freedom to get dirty
4. Time to imagine
5. Hugs & kisses
7. An adult to show him the world
8. Space to move and explore
But see? That’s the difference between adults and kids. If I give my boys everything on my list, they’ll be safe and healthy. But as far as they’re concerned, their world will lack pizzazz.
Do I think boys need trading cards, TV and junk food? No. After all, boys lived for hundreds of thousands of millions of years without any of those things. For today’s boys, though, a sprinking of trading cards, TV, junk food and video games equals fun. It’s a chance to do something that’s not inherently good for them.
And yet, a closer reading of their list reveals that the boys are right on track. Destruction is a chance to play with primitive urges while learning how things work. Sports are an excelllent opportunity for movement and competition and trading cards exercise boys’ math and organizational skills more than any text book.
Video games develop boys’ visual-spatial skills while allowing them to experiment with good and evil, while TV is a window to the wider world. Building forts exercises imagination and places the world (or at least a small piece of it) directly under their control. Junk food appeals to their desire to choose, and underpants — well, do you know any boy who wants to walk around with his stuff hanging out?
Fun, though, is the key. My list is a great list (if I do say so myself), but if I slog through it with a sense of obligation, my boys will still be lacking. So join me — take a moment today and figure out how you can inject some fun into your boys’ lives.
I guarantee you’ll have fun too.