Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Book Review: 'The Boy Crisis' by Warren Farrell and John Gray

California author Warren Farrell, PhD places his third book before the public dealing with the concept of gender – THE BOY CRISIS: WHY OUR BOYS ARE STRUGGLING AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT. His other two exemplary books are WHY MEN ARE THE WAY THEY ARE and THE MYTH OF MALE POWER. Warren is the chair of the Commission to Create a White House Council on Boys and Men and is the only man in the US to have been elected three times to the Board of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in New York City. In addition to starting more than three hundred men and women's groups, he has appeared repeatedly on Oprah, TODAY, and Good Morning America, and been the subject of features on 20/20, in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, People, Parade, and the New York Times.

In a most significant introduction Warren states his goal in writing The Boy Crisis: ‘A generation ago, a boy who was a “geek” in school was subjected to derision. So his parents might have tried to get him to lift weights or join the wrestling team— trying to protect him from derision, but perhaps unwittingly signaling to him the unacceptability of his nature. However, had a book catalyzed a national discussion that helped his parents foresee how technology would allow geeks to be among the respected leaders and multimillionaires of the future, they could have helped their son feel optimistic about his future and inspired to cultivate his gifts rather than lift weights in shame. While no vision of the future can be perfect, the goal of The Boy Crisis is to integrate the half century of national discussion about the challenges faced by girls and women with an equally nuanced national discussion about those facing boys and men. The Boy Crisis explores the major causes of that crisis, plus hundreds of solutions every parent, teacher, and policymaker can employ. Since every boy is different, read this book first, then listen to your son to determine whether what John or I write applies to him. Since “a prophet is never a prophet close to home,” you may wish to give the book directly to your son so he may discover himself, as well as directly to your daughter so she may love with knowledge and lead with empathy.’ And it is this empathy and support that is apparent throughout this hallmark book.

Warren addresses the crises in our sons’ mental health, physical health, economic health, education, and then discusses why the boy crisis isn’t our fault! Never stepping into the arena of blame but always remaining on the side of support, e discusses the power of purpose, the ‘Hero Paradox’, why marriages in this country fail more frequently than elsewhere, the schism between boys who are dad-deprived versus dad-enriched, a major exploration of the Dad role, and an illuminating section on heroic intelligence versus health intelligence, highlighting thoughts on boys with ADHD.

In the concluding remarks Warren sates ‘Becoming a great dad is not a mission for every son. Your mission is to guide your son to discover his mission. No piece of cake, because there’s no precedent. Our fathers did not learn to discover their mission; they learned to fulfill a mission someone else discovered. The “discoverer” was the need to survive. His mission was provider-protector. Your dad had two options: be the provider-protector or be a loser. Which didn’t allow for questions like, “What creates the glint in my eye?” He learned to be a human doing first, and a human being second. Or not at all. Which often led him to withdraw from loving himself, and ultimately from the family he loved. To him feeling that his life insurance policy is more valuable than his life. Your mission to help your son discover his mission begins with helping him to discover himself as a human being first, and then helping him find a way of being a human doing— of making a living— that supports him as a human being.’

This is a warm and instructive wake-up call of a book - ‘a comprehensive blueprint for what parents, teachers, and policymakers can do to help our sons become happier, healthier men, and fathers and leaders worthy of our respect.’ Read and grow. Grady Harp, March 18
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.