It’s Good to Be a Boy

I’ve been thinking about how my boys are nothing like my girl.  To most moms of boys, this comes as no surprise, but boys really are a class unto themselves.  I came from a family of all girls (besides my poor father and our Yorkie, Ralph) and the climate in our house was just…different.  Not better, not more refined, necessarily.  I mean, there was plenty of pinching and many secret slaps, ninja-like emotional manipulation, and zingy one-liners.  So I’m not exactly suggesting that my sisters and I were angels.

My childhood with sisters did not prepare me, however, for my future life with boys.  My sons are physical and adventurous.  They think in terms of King Arthur, Jedi, and dinosaurs.  Movie soundtracks play in their heads as they slay imaginary dragons.  They’re sweaty more often than not, and they wipe their mouths on their sleeves during meals.  They fall over with laughter if one of them passes gas.  They’re one-track maniacs and often claim that they truly cannot hear my voice when the television is on.

In short, they’ve been a surprising joy.

Even when I hint around for compliments and they respond with, “Actually, Mom, you have boy hair,” I can’t be mad for long.  I savor their increasingly rare boy hugs, and marvel at how muscles have slowly replaced their former baby softness.  The more they grow the more I love them.  And the more I’m convinced that they’re vulnerable–that they need shaping.

Along with a solid relationship with their dad and consistent Scripture study, I’m convinced they need to read good boy books, books that will inspire them.  I want them to aspire to virtues like courage, strength and faithfulness.  And since we read a lot in this house, I want some of their positive male role models to come in the form of literary characters.  I want them to understand that, in a culture that is increasingly hostile to honorable, strong masculinity, in this house it will always be a good thing to be a man.

To that end, I plan to encourage my boys to read some of the following books–or else I’ll read to them from this list.

  • Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (and anything else Wilder ever wrote)
  • The Jack Tales, by Jonathan Chase
  • Call it Courage, by Armstrong Sperry
  • Robin Hood, by Roger Lancelyn Green
  • King Arthur, by Roger Lancelyn Green
  • Adam of the Road, by Elizabeth Janet Gray
  • Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi
  • Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Lost in the Barrens, by Farley Mowat (and anything else Mowat ever wrote)
  • Goodbye Kate, by Billy C. Clark (and anything else Clark ever wrote)
  • The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth George Speare
  • The Mask of Zorro, by Johnston McCulley (and the rest of the Zorro books)
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel and El Dorado, by Baroness Orczy (and the rest of the Scarlet Pimpernel books)
  • Men of Iron, by Howard Pyle (and anything else Pyle ever wrote)
  • Shane, by Jack Shaeffer
  • The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
  • Old Squire’s Farm, by C. A. Stephens
  • Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe
  • The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow, by Allan French
  • Little Britches, by Ralph Moody
  • Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
  • A Texas Ranger, by N. A. Jennings
  • Penrod, by Booth Tarkington
  • The Jungle Books, by Rudyard Kipling
  • Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
  • The Worm Ouroboros, by E. R. Edison
  • The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien

(list courtesy of Martin Cothran of ‘Memoria Press.’  For more thoughts on why boy books are so important, see http://www.memoriapress.com/articles/dangerous-article-boys.html)

 

 

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