Masterminds & Wingmen
"In this book, I'm going to describe and give suggestions for
the most common dynamics and challenges you'll probably face with
boys. How can you help your son when he's struggling? How can you
get a better understanding of how he sees the world and his place in
it? How can you reach out to him without his shutting you out?"
Did you ever encounter a book you wish had been written years
earlier. I surely did this when I read Rosalind Wiseman's Masterminds
& Wingmem. Wiseman, author of Queen Bees & Wannabees and Queen Bee
Moms & Kingpin Dads, has done for boys what she did for girls and
parents. I wish this book had come out when my college son was in
middle school. Don't get me wrong. Those were great years. I miss
them like crazy now with the hubby and Joey cat being the only male
presences in the household. I just wish I'd known then what I have
Wiseman had written Queen Bees & Wannabees in collaboration with
many girls and young women. She'd wondered if boys would help her in
the same way. She need not have worried. Over 160 young men signed
up to edit, question, critique, and share their own deep personal
experiences. They are liberally quoted throughout the book. Here's
"In my AP classes, I was always one of five guys. The same five guys
in a classroom of girls. I had plenty of guy friends who could have
taken those classes, but they didn't want to do it. They'd rather be
the best among the mediocre. Really, my friends would rather look
stupid. They weren't secure enough to compete with the girls."
Wiseman and her collaborators introduce readers to the Act-Like-
A-Man Box: a widely agreed on collection of traits that define status
in Boyland. Not surprisingly, they contain attibutes like good with
girls, tough, confident, good at "right" sports,
And [in possession of] slacker attitude. The box determines a lot
more than social status. When the elite do things that are wrong it
can be quite daunting for lower status boys to speak up.
Another concept we're cued in on is the idea that each small
social group has certain designated roles such as the mastermind, the
associate, and the entertainer. Although each has advantages, even
the most prestigious carry restraints. Although the mastermind has
power and control, it can be difficult and lonely at the top.
After these frameworks are introduced they are used as lenses
through which to see the many situations in which boys get involved.
There are many practical suggestions for parents and teachers. Blocks
headlined LANDMINE! describe things you do not want to do or say.
I consider Masterminds & Wingmen to be a must read for anyone
parenting or working with boys and young men.
On a personal note, I miss even the biggest challenges of active
parenting. I miss those days of belonging and connection, of
dailiness, of doing stuff together and life holding excitement and
surprises. What I wouldn't give for a family trip to the fair or a
snow day or even people telling me what they'd like for supper.
Without kids, especially residing in a town where I've lost my only
connection with anyone in it, life feels like drifting on an ocean.
Randomly good and bad things (mostly good things) happen. But
drifting alone feels so precarious for someone whose prime need is
belonging. Wiseman describes four criteria for happiness:
"...meaningful relationships, the freedom to pursue what interests and
challenges them, a feeling of belonging and social connection to
others, and a sense that they're contributing to something larger than
themselves.". One out of four is...not good."
A great big shout out goes out to my wonderful children and their
significant others and four pawed children.
Sent from my iPod