We are failing them. They are left to their own devices, their own ways, their own griefs and sorrows. Our boys are living in a world that let them down. They turn to sin and sin, when full grown, leads to death. It may take a village to raise kids well, but healthy villages are built around healthy families that support one another. Our village is broken because our families are broken, and our kids are paying the price.
We are failing our boys, and the consequences are deadly. There was another mass shooting at a school this week. These have become all too familiar. We know what to expect. A young man found or bought a gun and used it to commit a terrible atrocity.
The rush to politicize these events is always the same. We scream for gun control. We demand mental health help. What we never seem to do is look in the mirror.
The demands placed on society are always pointed at someone else. Democrats point at Republicans. Republicans point at Democrats. Red states blame blue states, blue states blame red states.
But nothing changes. And, of course, the carnage is much worse than we usually admit. Boys and young men are killing at a terrible rate. Two mass killings in our country in just a few weeks grab the national headlines, but that isn’t all. The news in South Carolina has been dominated in recent weeks with stories of teenagers killing and being killed.
Who is to blame? We all are. We are failing our boys.
How do we know we are failing our boys? Because our boys are failing or falling behind in nearly every category imaginable.
- Nationally, 70% of high school valedictorians are female.
- In 2010 only 44% of college applicants were male.
- At the turn of the 21st century, boys received 70% of “D”s and “F”s and only 40% of “A”s.
- As of 2016, the dropout rate for boys is 40% higher than for girls.
- 2/3 of the population labeled as “learning-disabled” is boys.
- For every 100 girls who repeat kindergarten, 194 boys repeat.
- Boys are 50% more likely to be held back a grade than eighth-grade girls.
- The average 8th grade girl writes at the level of the average 11th grade boy.
- Boys make up 70% of medicated preschoolers and kindergartners.
- Boys make up 80% of the suspects in juvenile courts.
- Boys are punished more harshly than girls.
- In the past two decades, ADHD diagnosis rates have doubled. Boys make up a majority of these cases–often because they can’t sit still for extended periods in class.
- Male prisoners make up 93% of the prison population.
Every time we endure another outbreak of violence, we lament. We yell. We wring our hands, we blame others, and we look for a quick solution.
But we don’t look in the mirror. We don’t look into our communities and ask the question of why our boys are the way they are. We resist hard questions and even harder answers.
We must begin to ask hard questions. Hard questions that may cause uncomfortable answers.
If we ask how we are failing our boys, we may discover that we are failing our boys because our boys are not being raised in intact homes with men of character loving them well. If we ask hard questions, we are going to be forced to deal with hard realities.
It is hard for us to acknowledge that broken families lead to broken boys and more broken families. It is hard to acknowledge this because we love those broken families.