Beyond macho to real manhood

How to raise good boys


In the wake of recent schoolyard murders and burgeoning interest in the development of boys, many are wondering, "How can we raise good boys?" The Newsweek article "Boys will be boys" makes an important point about current societal expectations: "While girls' horizons have been expanding, boys' have narrowed, confined to rigid ideas of acceptable male behavior .... The macho ideal still rules" (May 11, 1998, p. 56). In the macho ideal, qualities such as strength, assertion/aggression, and leadership are highly valued, while the community-building qualities of connectedness and caring are devalued.

At this juncture in history, women are more often encouraged to express a full array of what are considered positive masculine and feminine qualities than are boys and men. Women's strength and courage in the workplace as well as their nurturing qualities at home are respected, but boys' and men's nurturing qualities are sometimes labeled as wimpy.

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July 20, 1998

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