Adolescent boys can be, well, juvenile. Boys will act without thinking. Boys will be rough with each other. Boys will be loud with each other. Boys will insult each other. Maybe they laugh too often or too loud, or talk way too often about farts or run too fast in the hall, or maybe they wrestle with each other when they probably shouldn’t be wrestling.
These same boys have a side to them that doesn’t show to most people. It’s the quiet side. The thoughtful side. The sweet, tender side. It’s the side that is fearful, and curious, and excitable and loving. It’s the side that still wants your face to be the last thing he sees at night, and still embraces you first thing in the morning. It’s the side that wants you there, that needs your approval, and craves your love.
They are still little boys.
Half of them haven’t hit puberty yet. Their little brains haven’t come close to being mature. According to some scientific research, they aren’t even close to half way there.
And yet we expect them to sit still for seven hours in school, to be quiet all the time, to be focused, to be serious, constantly. Why are we preparing kids for college in 6th grade? Why are we trying to train them into elite athletes? It bothers me that we feel like every minute of their day should be scripted, scheduled, planned out.
It bothers me that we try to catch them misbehaving, almost as though we are trying our best to catch them doing something wrong. It bothers me immensely that we, as adults, are using cameras and surveillance to do so. And it bothers me that we are punishing them for doing something that is simply characteristic behavior of little boys. Typical, smart, generally well-behaved boys. Boys that do well in school, are well-liked by their peers and come from good families. Boys that are simply having fun with each other…goofing off and laughing and yes, rough-housing with each other the way boys do. The way boys *should* do.
At what point do we stop micro-managing them? At what point do we give them a chance to relax a little? And when do we let them just be what they were meant to be…to learn on their own…to make mistakes and learn from them without interference from us? When are they allowed to be boys?
Maybe the question is when will we allow them to be boys? When will we begin treating our children like children again? When will we remember what it was like to be 12 or 13 years old, and feel like every time you turn around you are doing something wrong again?
For more of my thoughts on boys, read here.