Trayvon and Our Boys

I’m not going to dedicate a lot of words to the Zimmerman/Trayvon case. I’m certainly not going to talk about whether Trayvon was shot because he was black or if Zimmerman was acquitted because he’s not. Because neither of these are my perspectives. My perspective on this is as a mother, a mother to a son.
Because I worry a lot about what our culture teaches our children. I worry especially about my son because while I have the words to counter many of the things girls are exposed to, I don’t have any idea how to combat the egotism that seems to be necessary in young men.

“Either of them could have stopped at any time.”

That’s the resonating thing that has stuck with me about this case. Is one more guilty than the other? I don’t know, and I don’t really think it matters. Both were taught their own form of bravado…of heroism, of swagger, of standing their ground.

It really makes me think a lot about all of the young men we hear about in the news so often. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is another one I think about a lot. People threw a fit about his recent Rolling Stone Cover but I thought it was brilliant and asked an important and vital question. How can someone so normal…so absorbed in our world…so typical…so attractive….so like us…so embalmatic of achieving the American Dream…become so violent? Is violence now part of the American Dream too?
 He could’ve stopped at any time. I’m sure that he knew he should stop.

So why didn’t he? Why don’t any of them? What are we doing to our boys?

Because it’s not just that these kids are outliers. Boys are far more likely than girls to be criminals, commit violent acts, whether that be punching your annoying brother or pushing your girlfriend a little too hard to “go further” or blowing up strangers or chasing down and killing a”punk.” I wish I could say it’s just our modern culture, but it seems like boys have always been rebels to social structure. Take the famous quote from Socrates:

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for
authority; they show disrespect for their elders, and love chatter in
places of exercise. They no longer rise when elders enter the room.
They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their
food and tyrannize their teachers.”

Youth have always been a “problem” for society, so a better question is why haven’t we fixed this yet? I don’t think we should have all the answers, but we know enough that we should be doing something to keep our children from hurting themselves and others. I don’t know…you should read this great post over at A Holy Experience and say a prayer for all our precious boys.

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