Thursday, March 20, 2008

Startling Statistics about BOYS

Not to long ago, I attended a Scout leadership training. I didn't know what to expect going into it but had the desire to attend as I'm into my 3rd year as a Cub Scout den leader. I took an itty bitty piece of paper with me to take notes on and ended up filling it within the first few minutes. Fortunately, my neighbor saved my bacon by generously giving me several sheets of paper from her notebook where I frantically scrawled dozens of statistics about BOYS!

I lost the itty bitty paper but here is some of what I wrote part way through the meeting... just a few of the statistics:

  • College enrollment is 60% women.
  • Girls are approximately 1 1/2 years ahead of boys in reading and writing.

  • Those diagnosed with ADD are 80% boys.

  • Boys are 50% more likely to be held back a grade.

  • Dads are spending less than 20 minutes a day with their children.

Some current issues:

  • Misunderstanding of Masculinity

  • Increase in depression

  • Increase in violence

  • Learned helplessness

  • Decline in Self efficacy

  • Pro social behaviors not being learned

  • Decline in adult involvement

Whoa, as the mother of 3 boys I am very concerned about this!

Here is one fact that makes me smile: Boys score higher in math, science, ACT scores, and have fewer eating disorders:) Oh boy, is that true or what!!! However, it makes me wonder why there are more women attending college if the boys are the ones scoring higher on the ACT???

Obviously, there is an intense need to address these statistics. We are failing to teach: Problem solving, Decision Making, Creativity, Money management, Leadership, Overcoming challenges, Endurance, Self efficacy, Innovation, Conflict management...

What Can We Do? Change the experience (Rites of Passage). I had to review the definition of "Rites of Passage" which is an experience that changes a person. We can change the "experience" by creating mini experiences such as hiking and camping where the boys are put in a situation that forces them to grow in a positive way. A great emphasis was placed on the "need" for our children to experience nature. Why?

NATURE: Enhances peace, self control, self discipline, reduces ADD, improves cognitive ability, develops imagination, feel less angry, better coping skills. Children in nature are happier and smarter! Why does nature help? It has to do with "living organisms"- trees, flowers, bugs, animals etc.

Why are youth not going outside? Safety 94% and TV/Video 85%. Children are spending approximately 45 hours a week with electronic media. OUCH!

Wow! To sit there and hear all these statistics, I was appalled and very concerned not only for my cub scouts but more importantly my own children. I know that I was not the only one there that was greatly concerned. As I walked out I told my friend that "it makes me want to go home and unplug everything" and she said, "I know... Me Too!"

As a family we have made some changes as I know other families have too! We were encouraged to plan a MONTHLY outdoor activity and we have started this tradition. Each Sunday we sit down and go over the calendar and add to our busy lives a "planned outdoor activity". It gives us something to look forward to and we have loved getting outside. So far we have used our days to go skiing but as soon as it warms up we will be hiking, swimming, and camping. I've been wanting to take the kids to Disneyland but my focus has changed and we are looking at visiting some National Parks (Yellowstone, Zions) in the near future.
On a final note it was said that, "Families that camp/hike, bond more than families that go to Disneyland" and while I do think Disneyland is in our future it is no longer the focus of my vacation fund:)

Oh, and I just want to say... Wii do NOT need a Wii! (That statement is for my boys;)

What are your plans for the summer?

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