Instead of treating boyhood as a disease and medicating the energy and fight out of our sons, what if we taught them to use those God-given gifts in ways that will strengthen and protect families and communities from the real dangers that threaten us all?
In the words of Matt Walsh: "Boyhood is not a disease." But we seem to treat it like it is, especially within the education and medical fields, and sometimes even within our religious communities. This is a dangerous mistake and could be costly to future generations of warriors.
A boy's energy, his desire to fight, and his tendency to move around all are signs of their boy-ness. These are the raw materials we need to encourage and hone at the same time.
If we medicate them or punish these characteristics, we might squelch the life out of their spirits as well. Just like you used to be, boys often are wired to move, to create, and to learn while they're moving and doing.
Boys Need Space to Be Boys
Unfortunately school systems don't always see it that way. Sadly, physical education and outdoor time are increasingly diminished in daily school activities. I come from a family of public school educators. My parents, aunts, and grandparents were principals and teachers. The mere idea of homeschool was completely foreign, unexpected, unapproved, looked down on.
But now, with boys of our own, we quickly realized that public school was not an option for us. We were hearing school employees in their early 20s with newly-stamped degrees tell us that our kid needed to be put on early intervention. Why? Because he wouldn't put down the toy plane? No. Thank you.
Of course not everyone shares this perspective and we certainly don't judge what others decide is best for their children, but increasingly we're seeing two year olds and three year olds shipped off to preschools during those precious, formative years. You'll never get those years back, and who knows what they'll be taught in the meantime. It seems like the public school system is getting more disconnected from reality every year.
By the way. If the "experts" are insisting they know what's best for your child because of a series of tests, it might be wise to get second and third opinions.
Help Them Experience Real Life
I think the real problem here is that boys are being placed on some huge corrective course to change their behaviors for the horrible crime of having too many wiggles when they're being asked to sit still for eight hours a day.
While the ability to sit still and to deal with tedium and boredom are all important skills to develop, it's also critical to learn how to live and move in real time and space. In other words, they need to wiggle.
They're built to blaze new trails.
It's part of learning leadership and socialization. They need to get out, cut new trails, be creative, make games, get dirty, do all the stuff that little boys did. The stuff that you and I did growing up in the woods is now no longer condoned. That's part of experiencing reality and learning how to negotiate obstacles in the real world. This is what makes boys come alive.
Now everyone's looking around thinking, "What's wrong with the kids?" Anxiety's higher than ever. Teenage suicides higher than ever. School shootings higher than ever. It all starts so young where that light in their eyes just goes out.
Why are medications suddenly so common in this day and age? They weren't needed a few decades ago, but that's when the changes in school started happening. That's when kids started getting sent to school earlier and earlier, and they would sit longer and longer, and they would do less and less that actually sparked their minds.
Build Future Warrior Poets
The term "warrior poet" shouldn't only apply to adults who are interested in defending freedom and protecting loved ones. Warrior poets should start young in their training. This means teaching them how to think clearly, speak and write clearly, and spar intellectually.
We've found that homeschooling environments have been the most effective approach for our kids because that's the only way to protect them from exposure to stupid ideas at too young of an age.
They should be reading, not looking at devices. They should be talking, not snapchatting with people they hardly know. They should be interacting with a variety of wise people of all ages, not just locked into silly digital corridors with the foolish loudmouths of society. They should be experiencing and exploring the great outdoors on a regular, daily basis.
But whether you choose homeschooling or not, you can still be intentional about exposing your children to great thoughts, great places, and great people. There's no real excuse not to! Just start where you are with what you have and go from there, taking whatever steps you can.
If you're crawling, crawl. If you're walking, walk. If you can run, run. Do what you can.
You are the most qualified to help your children, to take over your children's education, because no one in the world loves them as much as you do. That's the number one qualification. You can figure it out. You can find resources. You can get a community of other like-minded people around you doing the same thing and make it work.
As always, Train Hard. Train Smart. Live Free.