Here I am again after a two week haitus. I apologise! Thankfully my partner is holding the ship afloat. Thanks Edgymama!
Are boys naturally more aggressive? It would seem that generally speaking they are. But over the last months I have been discussing here ways in which we can reinterpret this so-called aggression.
Here I continue a post from two weeks ago about how most children, and especially those – both boys and girls – who need to ‘move to think’ in Sir Ken Robinson‘s words, may not be expressing physical or willful aggression against us, but rather a need to contribute, a need to make an impact.
Anywhere from 2 to 5, our children start to realise that they have a role, that their decisions count. In pre-industrial, pre-consumer cultures by the age of 2/3 children may have simple chores, responsasibilities in the family or community. Definititely in hunter gatherer societies, they would have always been present and started to pick up skills from both men and women: gathering, identifying, sorting, carrying water, wood, food – hefting: using their newfound physcial force to make an impact! By 5/6 many children would be involved in busy work; sewing, weaving, whittling. chopping, tanning, fire-building,building shelters, and feeding animals, sewing seed, howing, harvesting in faming societies, cleaning, caring for infants – teaching, guiding: using their newfound will and authority to make an impact. A certain division of labour may begin around 5/7 too, amoung inclusive societites, where children work and play beside their elders, some boys or those more gifted with phyical or verbal force for example would be guided towards roles and jobs that could utilize these skills. Hence children with this incredible drive towards strength would have a viable outlet for it! In cultures where hunting and defense from wild animals was necessary, or local skirmishes were still present, children of this age would begin to be initiated in the arts of war, defense and capture. These were skills and drives that helped them understand their role in protecting each other and maintaining the integrity of their culture as opposed to the competition and indicvidualism that is encouraged in our society. Do games like tag or grounders really replace the deep biological need to explore these urges? Do sports or video games really do the trick?! Do our boys actually need to be taught, come face to face with real danger, battle, force, conflict? I believe they do! And I believe it is men who need to do the bulk of this teaching and initiation.