The Purpose of BoysHelping Our Sons Find Meaning, Significance, and Direction in Their Lives
The final and conclusive book in the groundbreaking series on boys and their development In this climax to his series of landmark books about boys, Michael Gurian offers a powerful new program to help us give our sons a core purpose–a program based on building morality, character, career goals, the ability to form intimate relationships, selflessness, personal and community responsibility, and an accelerated process of developmental maturity. Gurian reveals how important purpose is for the success and happiness of boys and explains how a boy's core personality, nature, and genetic predisposition functions to create both strengths and weaknesses in their journey towards maturity. Includes an innovative program for support and interventions according to the unique needs, weaknesses, and strengths of each individual young man. This book is the follow-up to Gurian's bestselling The Minds of Boys Draws on the latest science and field research on how boys develop neurologically Gurian explores the unique issues boys must confront, and shows how their strategy for moral development and success in life is predicated on their nature and genetic predispositions.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS IX INTRODUCTION: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE, SON? 1 Competing Purposes 3 What Is the Purpose of Boys? 4 We Who Care for Boys and Men 9 PART ONE UNDERSTANDING THE PURPOSE OF BOYS 11 1 THE LOSS OF PURPOSE IN AMERICAN BOYHOOD 13 Why Parents Want to Provide Purpose for Boys 15 Moving Forward with New Vision 22 2 HOW LITTLE BOYS DEVELOP THEIR SENSE OF PURPOSE 25 The Empathy of Boys 26 Brain Differences Between Boys and Girls 30 How Boys and Girls Need Purpose Differently 33 Your Little Boy’s Need to Save the World 36 Asking the Deep Questions of Boys 42 3 HOW ADOLESCENT BOYS SEEK THEIR PURPOSE IN LIFE 43 The Young Seeker Among the Primitive and the Civilized 45 How Adolescent Boys and Girls Seek and Develop Purpose Differently 48 What Motivates Different Boys 57 Helping Our Sons Seek Respect in Adolescence 59 Moving Forward with a Map in Hand 62 4.SON, YOU ARE MY HERO 63 The Heroic Son 64 The Story of Joseph 66 The Story Ends, for Now 86 PART TWO HELPING OUR SONS FIND THEIR PURPOSE IN LIFE 89 5 CREATING FAMILIES OF PURPOSE FOR BOYS 91 Creating a Three-Family System: The Parent-Led Team 92 The Development of a Boy’s Sense of Destiny in the Family System 96 The Ten Values Tool 97 The Value of Teaching Sexual Purpose 109 Helping Our Sons Find Purposeful Work 115 Helping Boys Find Purpose in Their Media Use 121 A Boy’s Search for Freedom 128 6 CREATING COMMUNITIES OF PURPOSE FOR BOYS 130 The Loss of Communities of Purpose for Boys 131 What the Community Can Do for Our Sons 134 Forming Purposeful Communities for African American Boys 141 Changing Helping Professions to Focus on Boys’ Needs 151 Enjoying Communities of Purpose with Boys 153 7 CHANGING SCHOOLS TOWARD RELEVANCE AND PURPOSE FOR BOYS 155 How Boys Are Struggling for Purpose in School 156 Fixing the Mismatch Between Schools and the Purpose of Boys 158 Investing in Schools of Purpose 178 8 CREATING AND PROVIDING RITES OF PASSAGE FOR YOUR SON 179 Guiding a Son Through Male Adolescence 180 Developing Your Own Rite-of-Passage Programs 184 The “Here I Am” Rite-of-Passage Program 189 The Power of Purposeful Men 205 EPILOGUE: COMING TOGETHER TO ADVOCATE FOR BOYS 207 NOTES AND RESOURCES 211 BIBLIOGRAPHY 225 APPENDIX: RITE-OF-PASSAGE PROGRAMS 229 THE GURIAN INSTITUTE 235 THE AUTHOR 237 INDEX 239
Family therapist, author and boy advocate Gurian (The Wonder of Boys; The Minds of Boys) observes that many boys are struggling to find a sense of purpose, and society has not sufficiently stepped up to the plate to help. Gurian paints a grim picture of boys who have lost their footing; many are failing in school; turning to drugs, alcohol or gangs; and engaging in violent behavior. Gurian attributes this disturbing trend to a lack of purpose and urges parents to help their male offspring channel their energies into productive lives. By employing a three-family system, Gurian argues, parents can join together with other adults—leaders, mentors, coaches—and such institutions as schools and churches, to help boys refocus and get back on track. The author offers practical suggestions for helping parents address boys' needs, tackling such issues as sexuality, work and overuse of electronic media. Particularly useful are Gurian's boxed questions for discussion, which will help parents and educators communicate directly with boys themselves. He also includes suggestions to help boys succeed in academic settings, for example, using movement, project-driven curricula and debate. Gurian's team approach to raising a son gives parents the tools and encouragement they need to help boys find direction and fulfillment. (Apr.) (Publishers Weekly, March 2, 2009)
The Author Michael Gurian is a family therapist, educator, consultant, and the New York Times best-selling author of twenty-five books, including The Minds of Boys, Leadership and the Sexes, The Wonder of Girls, Boys and Girls Learn Differently! and The Wonder of Boys. Cofounder of the Gurian Institute, he has spearheaded an international effort to provide families, communities, and corporations with an understanding of brain-based gender issues.
From Michael Gurian, the groundbreaking author of the best-selling books The Wonder of Boys and The Minds of Boys, comes the final volume in his definitive trilogy on boys. In this remarkable work, Gurian presents a tool kit for parents who want to discover how to inspire the ultimate fulfillment of their son's life. As he explains, purpose is vital for the success and happiness of every boy. Throughout the book, Gurian shows how parents can help boys build motivation, character, selflessness, meaningful and intimate relationships, a sense of responsibility to family and community, pride in their own good work, and mental and physical health. Based on the latest scientific research regarding how boys develop neurologically, The Purpose of Boys reveals what it takes to best support boys and address their unique needs, weaknesses, and strengths. The book offers an understanding of what is happening inside a boy's brain as he grows up, from birth through early adulthood. The author also explores the roles of the nuclear and extended family, communities, and neighborhoods; the best schools for boys; and specific rite-of-passage experiences and how they influence a young man's personal growth. The Purpose of Boys outlines a map parents can use to help their own sons wrestle with everyday life events and growth. And the book serves as a model to help all of our sons seek a successful future while still boys, adolescents, and young men.
From Michael Gurian, the groundbreaking author of the best-selling books The Wonder of Boys and The Minds of Boys, comes the final volume in his definitive trilogy on boys. In this remarkable work, Gurian presents a tool kit for parents who want to discover how to inspire the ultimate fulfillment of their son's life. PRAISE FOR The PURPOSE of BOYS "Michael Gurian is America's most passionate advocate for boys. In The Purpose of Boys, Gurian creates a rich reading experience and a clear recipe for helping boys to find purpose in their lives." —Michael Thompson, Ph.D., author, It's a Boy! and coauthor, Raising Cain "The Purpose of Boys offers insightful solutions to the problems of so many millennial boys who are failing to launch into productive adulthood." —Judith Kleinfeld, Ph.D., director of the Boys Project and professor of psychology, University of Alaska "There is no one who understands the development of boys better than Michael Gurian. In this insightful new book, Gurian offers useful advice about how to help boys succeed in the key challenge of today's world, finding purpose in life." —William Damon, Ph.D., professor of education, Stanford University, and author, The Path to Purpose and The Moral Child
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