While I haven't been glued the news (we don't have cable tv), just reading articles online about the tragedy has evoked so many emotions. Obviously sadness, but also more complicated feelings like those raised in this article, which has been making its way around Facebook and Reddit.
While many people are screaming out about gun control, I'm not so sure that's where the problem lies. Truthfully, I'm worried about boys.
All of my life, I've been surrounded by boys. As sister to four brothers, mother to two boys, and even caretaker to many male pets, I've been surrounded by the Y chromosome. So in some ways, I either have a keen perspective on males or am just more able to relate to them than some females. Who knows.
What I do know is that boys are in trouble. In a culture that seems to be crushing healthy outlets for masculinity (having to sit still all day in school, lack of rite-of-passage rituals, etc.), situations like the one that occurred in Connecticut are bursting out of a bubbling pot. Now of course I understand that this lost young man was mentally unstable, but I think that what happened is an indicator of something larger.
What do boys need? I'm trying to figure that out myself, but I know lots of outdoor time, interactions with other boys their age, and a positive male adult role model are good starting points.
I think sometimes we don't know what to do with boys, myself included. I'm a quiet, introverted person by nature, so having to raise loud, boisterous, crude boys myself has been difficult. I'm turned off by their need for constant physical interaction, their drive to climb everything and to destroy (at least this describes my sons).
I'll admit that I've had many, many failings. Yes, I've used TV and iPad games to get a break from that constant in-your-face interactions with Soren, especially. I wish I could give every ounce of myself to him, but I need to recharge too, and as in introvert, that happens when I'm quiet and alone.
Who knows what the future has for my sons. I see tinges of anger in my older son and worry about him heading down a path of destruction. I hope that Chris and I are prepared, knowing that we may have to take some unconventional measures to keep S on the right path. A book Chris often references and which has changed his perspective on modern manhood is Robert Bly's Iron John. I've yet to read the book, but am keenly interested in discovering more about men and the rites-of-passage that are lacking in our disjointed, modern society.
I'd love to write more on this topic of boys, which is of great interest to me, however said boys are now pulling me away from my thoughts.
Hug those kids of yours, and those men in your life who they look up to.