BOYS WILL BE boys, they say – but why exactly? We ask what makes adolescent boys 11-14 unique and what changes are their bodies – and their minds – going through at this developmental stage? Do boys and girls really learn differently? And what is necessary to help a boy become a good man?
IN-STUDIO GUEST: Joining host Shana Sheehy in the studio to answer these questions is Michael Gurian, co-founder of the Gurian Institute, where he conducts field research, launches pilot programs, and trains professionals in gender diversity and effectiveness. He has pioneered efforts to bring neuro-biology and brain science into homes, schools, corporations, and public policy and he and his colleagues have developed programs and models for helping schools and parents raise and educate boys and girls.
Gurian is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty five books including: The Minds of Boys, The Wonder of Boys, The Purpose of Boys and A Fine Young Man: What Parents, Mentors, and Educators Can Do to Shape Adolescent Boys into Exceptional Men.
He joins us from his office in Washington state.
DID YOU KNOW? For every 100 girls diagnosed with a learning disability 276 boys are diagnosed with a learning disability. For every 100 girls diagnosed with emotional disturbance 324 boys are diagnosed with emotional disturbance. For every 100 females ages 15 to 19 that commit suicide 549 males in the same range kill themselves. See more statistical comparisons at TheBoysProject.com
Rites of Passage - One of the challenges of adolescence is that everything is changing – minds and bodies – and boys and girls are moving from childhood to being “apprentice adults”. In ancient cultures that change was often marked by a rite of passage – a challenge that had to met. Today, more often than not, there’s no particular event to mark the change. Contributor Jessica Cochran spoke with two fathers who think that a rite of passage is an important step for children moving into adolescence to become healthy and functional adults. So they came up with challenges of their own.
Boys Speak Up - We wanted to hear from actual middle school boys about what they had to say for themselves. We asked them what differences they noticed at school between boys and girls of their age - how do they act and how are they perceived? Contributor Robert Stormo visited the boys in the combined seventh-eighth grade class at Pacific Northern Academy in Anchorage to find out.
Books for Boys - Reading advocate Pam Allyn has a whole book full of suggestions when it comes to boys and reading. Allyn is the founder and director of LitWorld – a global organization that advocates for children’s rights as readers and writers; her personal mission is to bring literacy to every child. Jessica Cochran spoke with her about her book - Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys: How To Engage Boys in Reading in Ways That Will Change Their Lives.
At Service High School, seniors in seminar must complete a senior project - the only guidelines being that it must be something that that takes more than a day to conceive and complete, as well as something that is out of your comfort zone. Some people do things that are so simple and mundane that you wonder if it took them less than 30 seconds to think of a topic (like learning to cook). But others go above and beyond and do something that truly makes an impact on people in the community. Like two years ago, there was a student who did Bike Safety Week. She traveled to the local Elementary schools and did safety presentations to the students, as well as orchestrating a "Ride your bike to school day" at Service. Of course I don't remember the Service student body responding all too well, since most high schoolers are much too cool for a bike, so a helmet is totally out of the question.
I want to go sky high for mine. Ever since Freshman year, Top Gun has been the ultimate movie. Every time a teacher played it on their projector, it packed the room with enthusiastic Maverick and Goose wannabes. Last year, I tried to start a Top Gun Beach Volleyball Club. Sadly, that one didn't get off the ground. This is my second, and last chance at immortalizing the greatest movie about the Navy Pilot's life. I want to do a Stage Adaptation of Top Gun. What would be better than watching the gut-wrenching dogfights, incredible pickup lines, and amazing displays of volleyball skill (from guys!)? Watching them up close and personal, instead of on a television screen.
You may ask, Why Top Gun? Why not Mamma Mia, or Finding Nemo? Even though both of those would be stellar on Broadway, or in the Service Little Theater, Top Gun is more than just a crowd pleaser. For Me, Top Gun is a joke, as well as a dream. It's a joke in the sense that it's a totally inaccurate portrayal of military life, as well as air-to-air combat (do you know what a flat spin is?) But it's also a dream, as I ultimately hope to follow in my father's footsteps and become a pilot, so Top Gun represents the past for my dad and hopefully my future. I'm also doing a play of it because no other movie has such a religious following as Top Gun (except maybe Twilight, but I'm not planning to be a vampire after college).
Oh, and if you were wondering, I don't plan on being Maverick, or any character for that matter. I imagine I'll have enough on my plate trying to tame a squadron of fighter jocks without being one myself. Plus, if I have a role, I won't be able to watch the best show ever seen!
If someone had asked me if I would act any different when I became a senior in high school, I'd have responded "Of course not. Senior Year is just like any other, with the only difference being that you don't have to come back and do it all again next year." Boy, was I wrong. Since my outlook changed from another year down to only one year to go, the way I conduct myself has changed too.
It started with realizing I was one of the four seniors in my Seminar English class. We'd be called upon to provide leadership to the underclassmen, in order for them to follow in our footsteps and not stray down the wrong path (the "wrong path" being un-seminarish high school dropout types). Oh, and did I mention that the freshmen outnumber seniors 3:1? It's a reality check when you're in a class and more than half of them were in Elementary School when you were starting High School. It's slightly unnerving.
Then, when I left the classroom and ventured into the halls, I had another realization that came along with being a Senior - no student had been at this high school longer than me. As I looked at all the faces passing by me, I thought to myself, "All these kids are younger than me. They don't remember all the kids who left before me, because they never saw them." But, think a blessing and a curse that comes along with getting older is that you don't notice as many people. As a freshman, I knew of most upperclassmen, even if I had never talked to them. Now, I can't say I know even 15 underclassmen. I don't know why, but only a few stand out from the crowd. I think that's because everyone looks up to people older than them, so naturally you'll know a lot more about your elders than your successors.
Finally, the last thing that has changed since years before is being the old hat on sports teams. On the tennis team I'm now one of the oldest and most experienced members, since I've been playing varsity tennis since Freshman year. The team is now my team. I consider someone's loss as my own, and a stressful tiebreaker in another match is twice as bad for me. It's nice to see that I've become a central piece of the team, and I'll leave a legacy to last for years.
I guess that's my goal and mindset for the year. I know that everything I do, good or bad, will be remembered by someone. When I leave Service, I want to have a smile on my face for both the life I have ahead, and the lives I impacted over the past 4 years.
I am currently spending 6 weeks of my summer in France with my family. I spent a few days in Paris - going to the French Open, walking everywhere, and dining out for lunch and dinner. After that, we went to Brittany for around a week, again living the tourist life. Right now I am currently in Damgan, which is still in Brittany, and there are so many palm trees here that it looks like California, although it has England's weather. What I have found remarkable at all these places is the French's, and maybe Europe's, ability to meld old traditions and culture with modern technology.
A prime example of this are their houses. It's not uncommon to see houses that were built before the United States even existed. There are many new homes, mostly because World War II’s dreadful toll on the French, but there is at least one old relic on each street. New or old, these houses have modern appliances and utilities. From the inside you would not be able to tell the difference between a house built in 1854 and one built in 1994 - they both would have fully functioning plumbing, heating, and cooking. It astounds me because there are houses that have seen the better part of three centuries, but instead of being backwards technologically, they are on the cutting edge, with kitchens that wouldn't look out of place on the set of Star Trek (per today's culinary trend).
Another example of the synthesis is the way many people start their day. They wake up, and promptly set out for the local boulangerie. These bakeries are usually family-run and the source of some of the French stereotype. On any given morning, you can see a man with a mustache, in a horizontally striped shirt, carrying a baguette. (Once in a while, you'll have the good fortune of spying a beret too!) It's so French you expect some accordion music to be his stroll's soundtrack.
But, the main point of the boulangerie is that it has existed since the town first was built, and while the technology around and inside it has changed, one thing stays the same - they still make same delicious bread and pastries that are enough to get you up in the morning. The baguette is, and has been, practically the only breakfast food for so many French people ever since before the French Revolution. It has seen its way through two world wars and countless strikes, and still it is the French's breakfast, lunch, and snack of choice.
I think that this blend of old and new transfers over into society as well. Instead of having inter-generational unrest (i.e. the 70's in the U.S.), the French embrace their traditions and pass them on to their offspring. Now, I'm not saying France is a land full of sunshine and daisies, where at every crosswalk you can find a teenager helping an old lady across the road - by no means does every old French person agree with their younger counterparts. But, with each coming year the traditions are passed down and carried on.
This old/new meshing affects me because I saw something that I could apply to my life. I'm a born and raised Alaskan and I’m always going to keep the little nuances of the Alaskan culture I know, stuff like: scoffing at the Lower 48's "mountains" (well, besides the Rockies), telling fish stories that you can’t find anywhere else in the world, and practically melting in all weather warmer than 70°. Just as the French keep their baguettes and boulangeries, I'll keep my fish and thick-blood, no matter how far I get from home or how much things change over time.
"HIGH SCHOOL IS a time when people push the limits, experiment and build a foundation for the rest of their lives," says KTD teen reporter Aviva Hirsch. She asked her peers at West Anchorage High School to tell her what kinds of examples they see in adults and the media, and what kinds of choices they are making for themselves when it comes to drugs.
Listen below to hear what teens really think about drug use.
This story originally featured on Show 35: Drugs These Days.
ONE OF THE tools the people in the drug and alcohol prevention world use in their work is the Youth Risk Behavior Survey; it’s an assessment developed by the Centers for Disease Control. The survey asks high school students to self-report on their risky behaviors in six different areas, including drug and alcohol use. The data is presented to show how many youth engaged in “risky” behavior: for example, in 2009, 33% of youth in Alaska had at least one alcoholic drink in the month before they filled out the survey.
But as KTD Contributor Jessica Cochran reports, a couple of Anchorage high school students turned the numbers around - 67% didn't have a drink - to show how many youth are making healthy choices.
Learn more: Summary of 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey results for the Anchorage School District The Strength of our Youth report done by Ariel Zlatkovski, Tanner Lyon and Michael Kerosky The survey students filled out this year.
This story originally featured on Show 35: Drugs These Days.
THE IDEA THAT marijuana is not as bad as other "harder" drugs has been circulating for years, and with modern marijuana more potent than the pot smoked in previous generations, this idea is even more harmful today - but this message is not getting out. As marijuana becomes legalized in certain areas, dispensed to treat a host of medical issues, and permeates modern movies, music and online - kids are increasingly conditioned to believe that using pot is "normal".
With recent studies showing a link between the early use of marijuana and increased chances of developing psychosis, these "social norms" surrounding pot use are especially dangerous for children and teens.
Here in Alaska, campaigns addressing alcohol and tobacco use are actively engaging teens and youth, yet there has been no such anti-marijuana campaign. Until now. The Anchorage Youth Development Coalition, a group of over 60 youth-serving organizations, is in the planning stages of a new campaign that will address these social norms surrounding pot use by youth and teens.
KTD Producer Sarah Gonzales spoke with Youth Development Specialist Thomas Azzarella about how this campaign is coming together.
This story originally featured on Show 35: Drugs These Days.
Do you remember the first time that you traveled without your parents accompanying you? Perhaps it was a road trip with your high school sweetheart, a camping adventure with friends or maybe you flew to another country. Wherever you went, chances are it made a significant impact on your young mind.
We were curious about solo traveling teens these days so KTD! producer Sarah Gonzales went to Service High School to ask and found out that freedom is still a very popular state of mind.
ROCK THE DROP 2011
Imagine people around the globe finding copies of amazing books in unexpected places, gifted out of love for Young Adult lit. Everyone can participate to raise awareness of Teen Lit Day, Thursday, April 14th!
Here's how you can get involved:
* Click on the graphic above to visit the ROCK THE DROP website
* Print a copy of the bookplate on their site and insert it into a book (or 10!) that you'll drop on April 14th. Drop a book in a public spot (park bench, bus seat, restaurant counter?) and you're done. Lucky finders will see that the book is part of ROCK THE DROP!
* Snap a photo of your drop and email readergirlz AT gmail DOT com with the pic -- they'll be posting lots of pictures of drops happening all over the world at the readergirlz blog!
EVERY YEAR TEENAGE mushers ages 14 to 17 compete in the Junior Iditarod. The race runs from Knik Lake to Willow Lake over the course of two days allowing the mushers the experience of camping overnight on the trail with their dog teams. Race entrants come from all over the United States and Canada to participate. One of those participants Seiji Takagi is a 14-year old freshman at South Anchorage High School.
He spoke with Kids These Days! before the race last weekend about what it's like to be a teenage musher preparing to run his first Junior Iditarod. Find out how Seiji and the other junior mushers did!
Ishmael Streever from the Alaska Teen Media Institute brings us the story.
This story originally featured on Show 23: Education & the Iditarod.