The Men They Will Become: The Nature and Nurture of Male Character

The Men They Will Become: The Nature and Nurture of Male Character

The Men They Will Become: The Nature and Nurture of Male Character

The Men They Will Become: The Nature and Nurture of Male Character

Synopsis

How do boys develop character? And what can parents, teachers, and society do, from birth to late adolescence, to help nurture admirable qualities in young men? Eli Newberger brings decades of experience and insight to these vital questions. In a series of riveting stories, he shows boys facing the harsh challenges that forge or break character: cheating, bullying, drugs, alcohol, and competition. The Men They Will Become delves to the deepest roots of male character and to the sources of attachment, honesty, self-control, sportsmanship, generosity, and courage. Rather than looking for flaws and vulnerabilities, Dr. Newberger celebrates all the wonderful qualities that make boys boys. The need for leaders of bold but non-violent character makes this wise book of urgent and timely importance.

Excerpt

This is a book about how to understand and influence the character of boys so that they have every opportunity to become admirable men. I have wrestled with the issue of character for a long time. As a pediatrician specializing in the treatment and prevention of family violence, I have dealt with urgent situations where one person--usually a man--has hurt others emotionally, and often physically, too. Daily I see expressions of masculinity we all deplore--power-obsessed, controlling, self-indulgent, belligerent, insensitive, foolishly risk-taking. Yet I have not met a single man in whom I could not find some point of connection with his better self; I've always been able to find a side of him that loves his children, or that yearns for a better relationship with their mother, or that knows violence is wrong. No one is just a "bad" man.

Throughout my life I've enjoyed the companionship of boys and men who personify the qualities of masculinity we admire--courage, good humor, flexibility, dependability, sociability, protectiveness of others. Some of these friends I first met during childhood and in high school, others were contemporaries at college, or have become professional colleagues. My life as a musician has also generated a rich variety of associations. None of us is perfect. We've all behaved in ways we regret, have all done things we wish we could do over with a clearer conscience and more careful choice. No one is just a "good" man.

So I need to define what I mean by character very carefully. First of all, since character is a subject as relevant to girls as to boys, why am I writing a book devoted exclusively to boys? I have two reasons. First, heredity bestows a different body and mind on a boy than on a girl. Not totally different, but distinctive enough to provide a unique biological starting point for a boy's development through childhood and adolescence.

A boy's environment adds a second powerful influence on his character formation. Ours has been called a gender-polarizing society. From the . . .

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