I’ll be posting some more of my own thoughts later this weekend, but for now, I’ve just got to pass this along.
My good friend, Troy, just told me about this book. It’s called “The Dangerous Book for Boys” by Conn & Hal Iggulden, two brothers from the UK. It has become a runaway best seller over there, and is set to be released in the US on May 1. Following are some excerpts from an interview Amazon did with Conn Iggulden:
Iggulden: In a word, fathers. I am one myself and I think we’ve become aware that the whole “health and safety” overprotective culture isn’t doing our sons any favors. Boys need to learn about risk. They need to fall off things occasionally, or–and this is the important bit–they’ll take worse risks on their own. If we do away with challenging playgrounds and cancel school trips for fear of being sued, we don’t end up with safer boys–we end up with them walking on train tracks. In the long run, it’s not safe at all to keep our boys in the house with a Playstation. It’s not good for their health or their safety.
You only have to push a boy on a swing to see how much enjoys the thrill of danger. It’s hard-wired. Remove any opportunity to test his courage and they’ll find ways to test themselves that will be seriously dangerous for everyone around them. I think of it like playing the lottery–someone has to say “Look, you won’t win–and your children won’t be hurt. Relax. It won’t be you.”
I think that’s the core of the book’s success. It isn’t just a collection of things to do. The heroic stories alone are something we haven’t had for too long. It isn’t about climbing Everest, but it is an attitude, a philosophy for fathers and sons. Our institutions are too wrapped up in terror over being sued–so we have to do things with them ourselves. This book isn’t a bad place to start.
I’ve had a lot of emails and letters from boys who loved the book–as well as fathers. I’ve had responses from kids as young as ten and an old man of 87, who pointed out a problem with the shadow stick that we’ve since changed. The thing to remember is that we may be older and more cynical every year, but boys simply aren’t. If they are given the chance to make a go-cart with their dad, they jump at it. Mine did. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to know the book is being used with fathers and sons together, trying things out. Nothing is more valuable to a boy than time with his dad, learning something fun–or something difficult. That’s part of the attitude too. If it’s hard, you don’t make it easy, you grab it by the throat and hang on for as long as it takes.
The book is often bought by fathers, of course. Their sons don’t know Scott of the Antarctic is a great adventure story. How could they if it isn’t taught any more? Good, heroic stories don’t appear much in modern school curriculums–and then we wonder why boys don’t seem interested.
Man, would I love to see these guys team up with John Eldredge!!! I can’t wait to get the book for my son as I do my best to raise him up to be the brave, adventurous, and dangerous man I believe God has created him to be. These guys really seem to get a big part of what has gone wrong with our culture’s attitude toward boys. I don’t know about in the UK, but in the USA we seem so intent on keeping boys tame and safe and contained and clean, and they are increasingly growing up angry and confused and violent. Maybe if we allowed boys to be the dangerous creatures God designed them to be, guiding them and showing them how to use their skills and power and aggression in healthy and productive ways, they wouldn’t end up so out of control in the end. If you have boys or serve as any kind of teacher or mentor to boys, why not join me in this quest to raise a new generation of strong men who are dangerous in all the right ways?