Monday, January 26, 2009

wild things

Where, oh where was this book when my boys were young?

I was asked to review Wild Things: the art of nurturing boys by Stephen James and David Thomas, both of who are fathers of boys. This book so hits the nail on the head. I posted some Q & A from the authors in a previous post, but I wanted to post my own reflections as well.

What I love about it is that the authors encourage parents to celebrate the gifts that boys bring to a family without feeling like they have to tame them down. Boys were created a certain way on purpose, and we do them no favors by trying to change their nature.

Instead, in this book, the authors seek to help parents understand the stages that boys go through, and look a little deeper into what those gifts will be if they are cherished, nourished and cultivated. Thus the title: the art of nurturing boys.

Now if you're a regular reader, you know I have boys. And you know that I have grandsons. And they are high-spirited young'uns. So as I started reading, I began to match up the boys to the stages I was reading about.

It says as soon as boys can walk and talk, they move into what the authors call The Explorer Stage. They are more adventurous than girls at the same age. I love this line: Explorers are simultaneously demanding and delightful. Oh, so true! But then it goes on to say, when it comes to discipline, Explorers are often stubborn learners. Also true! But they tell you that the reason is that boys' brains secrete less serotonin at this age, and serotonin acts as an impulse control. Wow! That makes total sense.

The book is so detailed, and everything they are saying sounds like they are talking about one of our little guys at that age. I can't believe it. This book would have so helped me be a better parent when my boys were little. I was the youngest, you know, and had no little brothers to disturb my peace when I was growing up. In fact, I always say I had no idea of what I was getting into when I started having kids.

I did live with my brother and sister-in-law for a couple years, and they had a big family, but she was a SAHM and made it look easy. Seriously. She could teach organization classes. She ran that house like a good CEO runs a company.

And beside, I wasn't responsible for the kids. Not the same at all! LOL

But just about when you are ready to pull your hair out, God built in a reprieve for parents. The next stage is the Lover stage. They get affectionate. They are hungry for that adult attention. They socialize. So what do you do with that? Coast? No.

The cool thing about this book is that the authors tell you what things you can do to meed the needs of each stage the boys go through. At each stage, there are certain milestones they reach, but if their needs aren't met, their development doesn't continue as it should, either.

I so needed this book. But I can still benefit from reading it, because as a gramma, I still want to be involved in my grandchildren's lives. I can still learn. They say an old dog can't learn new tricks, but I say they're wrong!


Faith said...

I'm going to have to get that book, sounds great!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your endorsement of the book. My manager just turned me onto your site. We sure appreciate you educating folks about Wild Things. Our hope is that it can be a resource in the fascinating, complex, challenging, sometimes hilarious, often exhausting, deeply rewarding journey of raising boys.

If your audience is interested, we've just started a blog where you can submit questions you have about boys and we're trying to answer as many of those as possible. The link is

Many thanks,

David Thomas