By Mervin A. Bourne, Jr.
- They haven’t learned that they are valuable. Boys must be taught their inherent value. If he believes that he is inherently valuable, he’ll be uncomfortable with doing, achieving, or obtaining less than he is capable of. He will develop a sense of pride that comes from his own belief that he is valuable, and therefore, special. Teach them that they are valuable because they are – not because of anything they do or possess.
- They don’t perceive that high achievement is expected. As a teenager or adult, the world expects that we set our own standards for ourselves. But young boys need high expectations set for them by the adults around them. Boys are looking up – not down – to help them understand how hard to try, how far to run, and how high to reach. Teach them that they are expectedto achieve greatness.
- They are afraid of failure. Failure hurts. It can be embarrassing, demoralizing and sometimes, even humiliating. We don’t need to be taught those feelings. However, perspective is everything, and failure can be useful and valuable, if we allow it to be. Failure is crippling, and prevents boys, who are taught to never show weakness, to avoid risk for fear of failing. Teach them that failure can teach and strengthen if we allow it to.
- They are afraid of how powerfulthey are. The idea that a boy can decide he wants something, plan and work to obtain it, and actually achieve his goal, can be downright scary. It is scary because this idea embodies the truth that our power is limitless, and the only thing stopping us from achieving anything we want to is mere will. Teach them to embrace their power, not fear it.
- They don’t know what achievement is. Many boys are never taught what it means to achieve, nor are they taught the difference between basic responsibility and actual laudable achievement (e.g., fatherhood is not an achievement). Teach our boys that they owe their best effort, they owe respect, and they owe love. Teach them that setting a worthy goal, working to achieve that goal, and reaching that goal – is achievement.