This is part 4 in a review of the wonderful book on adolescent boys “He’ll be Ok: Growing gorgeous boys into good men” by Celia Lashlie.
If you would like to read the previous posts, you will find them here:
Men’s Business: Letting It Happen
Lashlie through out the book has been very clear that during adolescence it is very much the time for mothers to move over and allow fathers a more active role. I have to be honest then and admit that I was at first disappointed to read the following in this chapter:
“I have absolutely no intention of telling men what to do”
Instead Lashlie explains:
“My main intention, in straying into the wolrd of fathers when this book is written primarily for mothers, is to honour men – their humour, their intuition, their strength and, above all else, their maleness.”
So in this chapter Lashlie tells stories of how the world looks from the perspective of an adolescent boy and reveals comments from boys on what they would like from their fathers.
After finishing the book, I do have a better appreciation for why the author took this approach and to an extent it is her example that I will have to follow during this period. I will need to trust my partner that he will step up and fill the needs of our adolescent boys, and will do so capably and without the need for my overt influence.
It doesn’t mean that I won’t have a role to play, it just means my role changes.
“Where at all possible raising a boy should be a partnership between his mother and father.”
For dad’s through the stories that Lashlie tells, the following themes become very clear:
“Your sons want you to step up, elbowing their mothers aside if you need to.”
“Your boys don’t want you to be anyone else; they just want you to be their dad.”
“All he wants is your time, even if it’s just five minutes a day>”
Growing a Good Man What It Takes
This book grew out of The Good Man Project which Lashlie ran through schools in New Zealand. An aim of the project was to establish an agreed definition of a good man.
However it was agreed by the school principals involved in the project that what they were looking for was far too fluid to be defined in a phrase or few words. (Out of interest the top three qualities listed by boys to make a good man were trust, loyalty and a sense of humour.)
Lashlie makes a concise summary at the end of the chapter about what are some key issues for adolescent boys and she has this last piece of advice on how to get our boys safely through this challenging period:
“What we have to remember is that we can only do it, mothers and fathers, parents and step parents, parents and teachers, if we hold hands. We can’t do it alone.”
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