I've been thinking about how little attention boys get in the world of education these days. I am particularly appalled at the way that young men are regarded and treated in higher education, beginning with bizarre "sensitivity" workshops that seem to want to teach them how dangerous they are to the women of the campus; how potentially criminal are their actions, thoughts, and imaginations.
There is something similar with boys at elementary and middle-school age, too. It seems that natural rambunctiousness and energy is now suspect and perhaps in need of some pharmacological address. When I was a boy my life was in constant motion: bike-riding, running, playing either organized games or ones singular and mutable in their rules and applications; fishing, hunting, camping, helping Dad with household chores or in attempting to keep our poor, often-disabled, family car together. In boyhood, I learned about the importance of rules, fairness, hard work, and keeping your rifle and fishing reel clean and ready. Taking care of tools was of particular importance.
If I were a boy now, I'm not sure what I would do, except play video games. If I were now entering college I think I would pull my baseball cap low over my head and keep my mouth shut in class. One never knows when an opinion will be found "disharmonious".
This is one of the reasons I delight in hearing the boys of our parish speak of the sports they're involved with, the help they give around their homes, the outdoor activities they enjoy. They seem to be wonderfully normal, which is a great testimony to them and to their parents.
I thought this essay linked to below rather nicely captured how the casual may be of lasting importance, especially when it connects one generation to another, or a veteran with a novice.
Something Greater Than Yourself