07 September 2011

Wounded Spirits Part 1

After reading this eye opening chapter, I decided John would have to give you his input on this chapter too.  There is just so much in this chapter about bullying, teasing, low self esteem, teen suicide, teen homicide, that I just would never be able to hit all the topics and do the chapter justice on my own...plus, John did such an awesome job last week, and since he is a guy, hearing from him about adolescents growing up in schools and home life will be much more meaningful coming from a guy!

We are doing a book series on Dr. James Dobson's book, Bringing Up Boys.  My husband and I are reading through the book together and sharing our insights here with you.  We've had such an awesome response from all of you about this book, that I'm really interested in also reading, Bringing Up Girls, and doing a Book study on that as well.

Click here to read my summary post on Ch. 1 The Wonderful World of Boys
Click here for Ch. 2 Vive La Difference
Click here for Ch. 3 So What is the Difference, by my husband John.

The beginning of the chapter Dobson says, "Let's look at the findings that have led us to conclude that many males are foundering today--and the vast majority of them are being negatively influenced by the culture.  Boys are six times more likely to have learning disabilities, three times more likely to be registered drug addicts, and four times more likely to be diagnosed as emotionally disturbed.  They are at greater risk for schizophrenia, autism, se*ual addiction, alcoholism, bed wetting, and all forms of antisocial and criminal behavior."

Why?  Where does this come from?

The name of the chapter says it all...wounded spirits...

We are raising a culture of boys who will be teens and men some day who have inner rage, "a crisis of confidence that reaches deep within the soul."  "Many of them are growing up believing they are unloved by their parents and are hated or disrespected by their peers.  This results in a form of self-loathing that often serves as a prelude to violence, drug abuse, promiscuity, and suicide.
None of this should be a shock to us (although I was very shocked by all the sad and depressing statics about boys) especially when divorce is so prevalent nowadays, and boys are being raised by mothers or grandmothers who are working very hard to provide for their families (alone) and have very little time to give attention to their children.

I even saw this at the Christian School I taught at.  I saw children being dropped off at 7am and being picked up at 6pm...by the time they drove home, did homework, ate dinner and took a shower/bath it would be bed time, was their quality or quantity time with parents?  If children are at school for 10-11 hours a day and they sleep for 8-10 hours, that gives them about 2-3 hours of "family time" but I wonder how much family time is given?  It's not easy...working to provide for your family...and give your child a great education...wow.  It's just so sad when you think about the time children are given.  And children spell LOVE by the T-I-M-E you give.  They want all of us.  They want eye contact.  They want physical touch.  They want words of affirmation.  They need all of us.  Have you ever been with your child and they could tell you weren't giving them ALL of your attention.  Toddlers have a way of just grabbing your face and making you look at them!  Julia constantly says (in the car mind you) "Mom, turn around!" Because she wants me to give her eye contact while she's telling me a story.

We have become so busy...busy with work, busy with ministry, busy with house cleaning, busy with family issues (and think of the emotional drain of time when parents are going through a divorce) busy busy busy, that we disengage.

Dobson says, "This disengagement of parents in our fast paced and dizzying world will show up repeatedly in our discussion of boys.  It is the underlying problem plaguing children today.  Chronic neglect of boys and girls during the first two years of life is devastating psychologically and neurologically."
Why are these boys wounded spirits?

They've been neglected by parents.

Dobson also went on to talk about how violence in boys also stems from being teased unmercifully as a child. Children with red hair (oh, don't even tell me this) especially, children with a crooked nose, or crooked teeth, pointy ears, acne, big feet, whatever a child has that stands out amongst their peers is free game for teasing and humiliation.

As a teacher this type of behavior was NEVER tolerated.  On the first day of school we talked about how our classroom was going to be a safe place where everyone was treated with respect and would feel comfortable to be themselves and learn.  Bullying and teasing would not be tolerated, and the student who was being the bully would have to deal with MRS MAC!  I'm pretty sure to a third or fourth grader I could be scary especially if I heard that they were belittling another child.

Dobson went on to say that children who are not defended or protected at school (public or private or Christian...doesn't matter) especially boys, will begin to self loathe, and and inner rage will grow.  And who knows when the violence can occur.  He brought up the recent shootings at high schools where boys who were picked on and treated like outcasts finally took matters into their own hands and shot students and then ended up killing themselves.  It's so sad that they felt they didn't have a voice, or any power, or any love or respect, and that they resorted to such a violent act.

Obviously the media (tv in particular) doesn't help with the "perfect body" ads and commercials and shows about teens who are popular.  Face it, if you aren't popular at school, or an athlete or a cheerleader, you feel as though you aren't good enough somehow.  Just watch the movie The Breakfast Club.  "Boys want desperately to be big, powerful, and handsome, by the age of four, they will flex their little biceps (Mark already does this) by holding up their arms, making a fist, and pointing to the bump where a muscle will someday grow."
Self-image is so important to boys.  Dobson shares some real life examples of families he has counseled on what to do with boys who were bullied in school.  How to deal with the rage, the tears, and the humiliation.

Dobson says, "As for me, I would not permit my child to stay in an abusive environment if I pereceived it as more than the usual bickering between kids...you must protect the spirit of your child.  I have seen firsthand what a pack of wolves can do to a defenseless lamb."
I covered the first 10 pages of this chapter...next week John will conclude the last 10 pages!

1 comment:

  1. That's a lot packed into the first ten pages. Heartwrenching stuff! Thanks for your perspective and summary. I always appreciate your book studies most. xoxox C


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