What does it mean to be a man in a time when there are calls for “dismantling the patriarchy”? How do you raise a boy in a world filled with examples of toxic masculinity?
Authors of a new book hope it’s a helpful tool for boys ages 8 to 13. “The Book of Dares: 100 Ways for Boys to Be Kind, Bold, and Brave” is aimed at building emotional awareness and helping kids grow into a healthy manhood. It’s co-authored by Ted Bunch and Anna Marie Johnson Teague who are with the organization A Call to Men.
On embracing being a boy:
“I love being a man,” Bunch told Texas Standard. “We love men. We love boys. [But] we also want to challenge the things that are hurting them, that are stopping our boys from being their full, authentic selves.”
“To make every boys’ lived experience the best it can be, we have to be intentional about encouraging their authenticity, about helping them develop empathy, about educating them on healthy relationships and healthy masculinity, and promoting their emotional literacy,” Johnson Teague said.
On what it means to dismantle the “Man Box”:
Bunch says the “Man Box” is made up of society’s messages of how manhood should be treated: “always being in control, having to know the answer for everything, not asking for help, not showing any emotion except for anger.”
Bunch says these ideas can become problematic, even dangerous, for men.
“The suicide rate, it is much higher among men than women,” Bunch said. “And by the way, it’s much higher among male youth than female youth. … We start teaching our boys that they have to live within this ‘man box’ at a very early age.”