Blogger: Etta Wilson
Location: Books & Such Nashville Office
Weather: Mid-40s. Still cold!
In the February issue of the review publication BookPage, I read an interview with Richard Whitmire, author of Why Boys Fail. Whitmire, the father of two daughters and formerly an education reporter with the Gannett News Service, writes that he used to think girls got shortchanged in their education.
But later he woke up to the fact that boys were not getting the education they needed. Reading experts report that starting at fourth grade, boys should pull even with girls in literacy skills, but that’s not happening, and most boys never cross the gap. Whitmire thinks that although men may rule the White House and Wall Street, they don’t rule the local economy and local government structure.
Could this be because boys and girls have different learning styles that aren’t being tried? What about the levels of math skills where boys have traditionally led? It is disturbing to read that the U.S. educational level has slipped so dramatically. Is there a correlation? I think we are at ninth place worldwide now.
I’m off on this tangent because I notice a slew of new books about the father-son relationship: The Nine Lessons by Kevin Alan Milne, Home Game by Michale Lewis, Halfway to Heaven; My White-Knuckled–and Knuckleheaded–Quest for the Rocky Mountain High by Mark Obmascik. In one way or another all these have to do with dads parenting boys, and I wonder if that won’t help boys re-engage with learning on a broader scale.
Maybe we moms have either coddled our boys or else neglected them for other pursuits. Maybe there’s just something about being a man that men can teach boys better! I’m in over my head in this complex issue, but I’d love to hear what you think about masculinity and leadership.