Initiating boys into manhood

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Initiating boys into manhood

Boys are searching to become men, and manhood is a huge issue even if they don´t ever use the word, even if they find the word campy. Your boys want to become men and they need to become men. Right? They have got to. So some words are used that sometimes are awkward words like initiation. If you hear the word initiation, people will say I don´t want to initiate my boys into manhood. It will be like hazing or something. But what the word is trying to say is we have got to set up systems by which males are brought from childhood to adulthood. And those systems have to involve other elder males, other elder males. So if you have a boy and your boy is moving toward puberty or moving through puberty, he needs other males. And these initiation systems that we all used to have, all of our ancestors, you and all your ancestors used to have these systems where males stepped in when a boy was 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and with the father or with the grandfather said we are going to raise this boy up now to be a man. We need to create those now. And fortunately, there are a number of these that exist now. One you can immediately access is Heroic Quest for Boys, Now, for Jews of course, there is the bar mitvah and the bat mitvah. This heroic quest for boys is kind of like a bar mitvah for Christian boys. And I wrote that with a Christian minister. And that is an initiation ritual that compels the boy and it is very fun, that compels the boy to grow up. If we don´t give these to boys, they tend to go in gangs or they tend to be 30 years old living in our basement. So it is really important we give boys these rites of passage.

Watch Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC's video on Initiating boys into manhood...


Expert Bio

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Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC

Family Counselor & Author

Michael Gurian is the New York Times bestselling author of 25 books published in 21 languages. He provides counseling services at the Marycliff Center, in Spokane, Washington. The Gurian Institute, which he co-founded, conducts research internationally, launches pilot programs and trains professionals. Michael has been called "the people's philosopher" for his ability to bring together people's ordinary lives and scientific ideas.

 He has pioneered efforts to bring neuro-biology and brain research into homes, schools, corporations, and public policy. A number of his books have sparked national debate, including The Wonder of Girls, The Wonder of Boys, and Boys and Girls Learn Differently!, and The Minds of Boys.

Michael has served as a consultant to families, corporations, therapists, physicians, school districts, community agencies, churches, criminal justice personnel and other professionals, traveling to approximately 20 cities per year to keynote at conferences. His training videos (also available as DVDs) for parents and volunteers are used by Big Brother and Big Sister agencies in the U.S. and Canada.

 As an educator, Michael previously taught at Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, and Ankara University.  His speaking engagements include Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Macalester College, University of Colorado, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and UCLA. His philosophy reflects the diverse cultures (European, Asian, Middle Eastern and American) in which he has lived, worked and studied.

Michael's work has been featured in various media, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, People Magazine, Reader's Digest, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Parenting, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, PBS and National Public Radio.

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