Russell and Duenes

Boys locked up in desks

with 2 comments

I’ve said many times before that it is boys who get the short end of the stick when it comes to our educational system. Long ago American schools of all stripes abandoned a wise course of action when it comes to training up boys. One of the biggest “misses” we have is making young males full of youthful vigor and hormones sit in classrooms – surrounded by girls, no less, who often outperform them academically –  listening to lectures and “talking” about things. Bob Schultz, in the introduction to his little book, Created for Work, strikes the right note:

In the education of boys today we’ve lost the importance of work as the most effective tutor. What is the good of knowing how to read or write if a young man doesn’t have the heart to work, to produce, and to create? Boys are often forced to sit for hours, year after year, in front of books. Modern child-labor laws hinder and even prevent them learning to enjoy strenuous work. Then, after twelve to sixteen years of inactivity, folks wonder why all their teenager wants to do is sit on the couch playing games. A boy who loves to work will master math when it’s needed. He’ll put out the effort to read what’s important…Within every man is the desire to work and produce. Some men don’t even know that it’s there. However, when necessity or some pressing authority pushes him into a useful position of employment his sense of work comes alive. I’ve employed many lazy boys who couldn’t imagine work as something other than a necessary evil required to gain money for a toy. However, given time and proper instruction, these lazy lads have turned into dynamos working for the simple pleasure of work, disregarding the hardships and the pay.

Bingo! So in my view, the problem in our educational model is not one primarily of content, but of form and method. As C.S. Lewis said in another context, but applicable here to the education of young boys, we “castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” We were made to work. Adam worked in the Garden before he fell into sin. And so we should not be surprised when the God-given impulse in young boys to work and create “breaks out” as it were into godless and corrupt endeavors.



Written by Michael Duenes

March 10, 2010 at 5:43 am

Posted in Duenes, Education

2 Responses

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  1. VERY Good.. believe me..I am very aware of this huge problem in our school systems.. however…the need presented in this entry is in my opinion, much better met by loving, engaged Fathers…. which is another HUGE subject…

    dan bicker

    April 13, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    • Agreed! I would only add that boys need to be brought up into the fellowship of men, not just their individual fathers. This “fellowship of men” has existed throughout history until fairly recently. So it’s not an “either-or” but a “both-and.” If boys are going to spend most of their waking hours at school and doing homework at home, then we really have to reform what we’re doing. But you’re right, the subject of loving, engaged fathers is a HUGE subject.



      April 14, 2010 at 8:19 am

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