Boys Will Be Boys by Leneita Fix
More than a decade ago The National Education Association for School Psychologists claimed that more than 160,000 students miss school DAILY because of the fear of being bullied. Today this same association says that about 15% of those absent from school daily are because of a fear of being made fun of or to avoid facing those who have been taunting them online.
Statistics also show boys are more likely to bully and be bullied.
When you dig into the characteristics of kids who are more “likely” to be bullied there seems to be conflicting articles. They can be popular or reclusive. Perhaps they have an “outstanding” physical characteristic, illness or disability. They might be someone others are jealous of. As a boy in particular they could be creative, sensitive and more “friend-centric” than aggressive.
What I am noticing is when you add this all up adolescent boys who see themselves as emotional, compassionate, loyal, and respectful or “not fitting the male stereotype” live in fear of being made fun of. They don’t know where they fit into the current society of guys.The role models they see in our media they want to emulate are athletic, strong, confident, and loud.
When testosterone begins to kick it up as puberty hits, their emotions begin to be all over the place. There is a lot of fear and insecurity about their bodies, attitudes, and “getting it right” so they can simply fit in. For many thus comes out as anger and aggressiveness. However, for some they cry. Then as they cry, it drives them crazy because this is not “manly.” The anger arises and the kids who actually have been given hearts of “shepherds” try to squash it.
I know because this is my son, and I have good friends whose sons are the same. Part of the issue is male role models. We want our male pastors to listen, and show grace, compassion, and care. Yet, we forget they had to go through the teen years before they could get be the counselor who guides. Are we telling our young men you don’t have to “become” this, but it can be who you are now?
In the meantime many of our boys are going to struggle with self-image and being emotional. Our girl talks tend to be about body image and keeping our sensitivity in check. While not every boy is saying, “Do I look fat in this?” They may be saying, “Am I too short and chubby to fit in?” It’s important we don’t inadvertently tell boys what their issues are supposed to be. They honestly believe they are the only ones feeling insecure or inept in a sea of other teens feeling EXACTLY the same thing.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s really hard for our boys to truly grasp how Christ was ALL of these things here on earth. He worked as a carpenter for most of his life and walked EVERYWHERE: That is a man covered in muscles. He noticed the hurting and stood up for injustice. He was confident and powerful. He was creative, sensitive, AND used a whip to get attention on one occasion. He stared demon-possessed, naked, crazed men in the face and commanded those demons to flee. He wept when his friends were hurting, told wind to back off, and loved deeply. We too often think boys have to be EITHER “manly” OR “relatable.” He was not any of the things we poke fun at “just being a guy.” He wasn’t arrogant, self-centered, forgetful, aloof, and he could find items that were lost. Jesus not just as God, but as a man, was (and still is) the “whole package.” We can mean well in our current movies in the ways we attempt to portray him, but none of them will ever show us really what He was like as God and a person all at the same time. It’s important for us to keep pointing our boys back to Christ, not just metaphorically, but truly as the example of what it is to be a guy.
Bottom line is that “boys will be boys” may have more meanings than we realize. It’s our job to help these young men understand God created them purposefully.