Sally Thomas, whose writing I enjoy enormously, has written a wonderful article at First Things concerning raising boys, The Killer Instinct. Thomas' conclusion that the natural desire in boys to commit acts of violence is not the same as a desire to commit evil acts is something that we here at Temple Academy have come to learn, too.
The realization that boys are drawn by their very nature to violent or destructive play, to take risks and test their mettle against anything that offers resistance, and to act with less regard for social consequences than their female peers is at once relieving and daunting.
On the one hand, it is a relief to be done with the expectation that boys should change themselves fundamentally in these areas (even if we are never done with the necessary cautions). The acknowledgment that a desire for adventure and battle is a healthy aspect of a boy's nature, despite the forgetfulness of social and safety concerns that often accompany them is the first step.
The next, and somewhat daunting task is finding ways to direct masculine energy into healthy channels, allowing it expression while minimizing harm.
Joseph Susanka at Inside Catholic asks for practical advice in this regard. More on that tomorrow...