I don’t write romance. Not straight romance. Not girl falls in love with tall-dark-and-handsome stuff. I have to add adventure, suspense, mystery, and a bit of danger. I’ll forever be a tom-boy.
As a child I played with my brothers—cowboys, basketball, and catching minnows in irrigation ditches. I climbed trees, through coal-shoots, down laundry drops, out of windows and onto the roof. And I read books. My favorite was Joe’s Boys—the sequel to Little Men. I decided I wanted a family of boys with one or two girls.
Right now my life is filled with boys. My tutoring students are all boys and my Sunday class consists of 6 boys and two girls. Life is good.
Generally boys are not interested in clothes, styles, or crafts. They do like swords, rockets, and daring adventures. And they dream big. One of my students is doing a“hero project” on Walt Disney. Some may think of princesses when they think of Disney—this young man sees an innovator, a man five steps ahead of everyone else in his industry (you might say he created his own industry), and a successful businessman. Plus he had a lot of fun.
When I teach boys I challenge them—I set high standards and bring new ideas for them to think about. This is not gender specific—I loved learning new things and exploring ideas, but where girls generally like to learn new recipes and the latest holiday craft (I do), boys like science and industry.
I also tell them stories that inspire. I have seen boys near tears as they imagine the events of a historical moment—one where an ordinary man became a hero. Boys need heroes—tons of them. Fathers are essential. But reading biographies is also invaluable. The more examples they learn of people who made tough choices for good while the world around them fell apart, the more they will find strength in their own times of choosing.
It’s also good to keep a sense of humor—especially with boys. Be witty, look at the humorous side of everyday tasks, smile from inside, and don’t let ten minutes go by without laughing.
This reminds me of my weakness. Unfortunately, I’m easily charmed. One year a 14yr. old math student said to me, “We can’t take you serious Mrs. Dayley. When we get noisy, you act tough, but your eyes are laughing.” It didn’t help that that particular young man had dimples!