I am the mother of two boys. I know I’m not perfect but I do try to be a good parent. Unfortunately it appears that for the past five years I have been remiss. I have failed to “channel” my sons’ boisterousness.
According to James Delingpole – now the Ross Kemp of posh rightwing journalism – “we seem to have forgotten that boys will be boys”. I for one am guilty of this. I look at my boys and think “they’re boys”. But rarely do I go on to conclude “and thus they will be boys”. This might sound like a minor omission but it’s not. What it actually means – and this is a serious fact, because the Telegraph says so – is that they’ll grow up to beat the shit out of other boys. And possibly also girls. And maybe even household pets. Basically, because my boys have not been allowed to “be boys” (as defined by the Victor Book for Boys circa 1964) they will grow up to be violent hooligans as opposed to men of courage – the kind of men who win wars, slaughter beasts and present Top Gear.
Thankfully some boys are still boys, even if mine aren’t. Even though “the testosteronal boisterousness of young men has always been a problem” there are ways of letting off steam, although they’re not so prevalent today as they used to be. As Delingpole informs us:
War was the most practical solution. But when that wasn’t available, there was always practice for war (archery, jousting, fencing, etc), sublimated combat (in the form of games, athletics contests, motor racing and so on) or ritualised male buffoonery such as you see at Oxbridge drinking clubs or on stag weekends.
So in short, if you want to get rid of all that excess of boisterousness there are three options: go to war, be posh or get married (or perhaps just get engaged, repeatedly). Got that, boys? What are you waiting for? Remember, there was no needless violence when everyone was out fighting World War Two!
The trouble is, it’s not just up to boys to sally forth and be boisterous. All around them women are holding them back, especially women who try to teach them stuff.
As I’ve seen from my own children’s school experiences, boys tend to perform better when they’ve got male teachers who can empathise with their natural thuggish idiocy than female ones who just want to pathologise it. In our feminised, sanitised times, we seem to have forgotten that boys will be boys and always will do stupid, dangerous things.
Hmm. If this is the level of research we’re engaging in, I might like to point out that as I’ve seen from my children’s school experiences – and those of my partner, who is male AND a primary teacher, thus empathising with thuggish idiocy on a daily basis — this is total crap. If anything, there may be a link between lessons in positive touch and a reduction in male violence. But then I would say that, living in this feminised, sanitised, tampon-and-Femfresh-sodden era of matriarchal dominance.
The truth is, like most parents, I’m not 100% sure I’m right about anything. So perhaps to be on the safe side I should engage in some hardcore, fast-track boisterousness channeling, to make up for lost time. At five and nearly four my sons are probably too young to send to Afghanistan or on a stag do in Marbella. And we’re not Bullingdon-club posh, so that level of (laughable) hardness is also out of reach. Perhaps if we just switch over from Cbeebies to Dave it’d be a start. And maybe I’ll, I don’t know, make them sleep in the shed for half the week (except that’s probably not allowed under the feminised nanny state).
Or perhaps I won’t do any of this. Perhaps I’ll look at statements such as “it’s fruitless asking how to change male behaviour: we can’t and never will” and think “sod you, James Delingpole”. My children, like all children, have more potential than your tiny imagination will ever know.
PS I will now have that shit Ordinary Boys song in my head for the rest of the week :(