If you read my blogs each week — you know I believe in kids. At Growing Leaders, we are committed to equipping this emerging generation to be healthy, life-giving leaders. However, worldwide, adults are experiencing a dilemma as they attempt to connect with and teach students.
One primary trouble spot among Generation Y is the male gender. Something has happened on their way to becoming men. They got stuck. The wind was taken out of their sails. They just stopped maturing. While the girls continued to pursue their future dreams, the boys returned home after college. One striking metaphor explains it all. It’s the story of Peter Pan. Do you remember Peter Pan and the Lost Boys in Neverland? Here is a summary of their lives:
– They were mischievous and full of adventure
– They wanted a mother-figure nearby
– They refused to grow up
Today and tomorrow, I will share seven reasons for this male phenomenon in the U.S. Here are the first three reasons:
1. Video games
These addictive activities disengage kids from the world. Especially boys. The average adolescent male spends 13.5 hours a week playing video games. The only legitimate research I’ve been able to uncover reveals that the more time spent on front of a video game, the poorer the boy does in school. The screen has consumed nearly every facet of their lives. Some young men even seem to prefer online pornography over healthy intimacy with another human being. There is no need to work at a relationship. When the boy is ready to stop, he only needs to click a button. Furthermore, their reading and learning abilities are being damaged by computer games and television. Eye specialists warn they impair the development of a child’s vision, leading to nearsightedness.
2. Damaging Parenting Styles
A new generation of parents emerged, beginning in the 80s. Starting with the Tylenol scare in 1982, parents demanded that promoting and protecting children become the top priority in government, schools and sports teams. Helicopter, Karaoke, Dry Cleaner, and Volcano Parents have unwittingly delayed responsibility in their kids. Most parents mean well and damage unwittingly, but their children are their trophies. Some will do anything to make them succeed. They hover over their child — they want to be their child’s “buddy” and they drop them off at school expecting good grades. This has especially impacted boys. If boys are not empowered to become men by older men — they will often remain immature.
3. Prescription drugs
Hyperactive, frustrated boys are increasingly being medicated. The U.S. makes up 5% of the world population, but consumes over 90% of drugs for ADD and ADHD. Dr. Leonard Sax writes that these drugs shrink the motivational centers of the brain and the effect of this lasts years, well after these kids stop taking their meds. If they were around today, Charlie Brown would be on Prozac and Dennis the Menace would be on Ritalin. I am concerned that we adults have often become lazy when it comes to dealing with energetic, unruly boys. In response, we felt the best way to relieve the problem was to medicate them. No doubt, boys often need meds. But I believe we’ve removed their ambition and slowed their progress into adulthood.
I will share the second half of this list tomorrow.