For those of you who have boys in your life I highly recommend Conn and Hal Iggulden's The Dangerous Book for Boys
. It's been praised repeatedly by one of my favorite bloggers
and I picked it up to give it a look. It's full of great things for boys (and girls) to do, but is mainly aimed at boys, specifically at getting boys out of the house and helping them reclaim the adventurer in their souls.
The table of contents is full of great stuff. The first few items:
The Greatest Paper Airplane in the World
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
The Five Knots Every Boy Should Know
Making a Battery
How to Play Stickball
Building a Treehouse
Making a Bow and Arrow
There are dozens more great topics that should appeal to boys. I will admit that I would have loved this book when I was growing up too.
This book is timely because a new movement seems to be afoot to get kids outdoors. I'm seeing more and more articles mentioning something that is characterized as "Nature Deficit Disorder
." This basically is a name for the phenomenon where kids are insulated in their homes and backyards and aren't allowed to roam freely anymore. They're out of touch with nature and out of synch with the natural world. They're playing video games indoors instead of building forts and riding their bikes all over creation.
As a parent I know why kids are being kept on a short leash. The 24-hour cable news cycle has created a hysteria among parents about the safety of their children. The every-other-day kidnapping that happens a country away is making it seem like children are in much more danger than they really are. But the hysteria has taken such hold over our imaginations that if I were to be the maverick parent and let my kid run around town unsupervised then I'd be judged by other parents. Parents are so afraid of something bad happening to their children (which I fully understand) and being blamed for it if it does happen.
So instead of letting our children explore their world and take risks, we insulate them and coddle them. I think we're doing them more harm than we realize because we're also unwittingly sending them the message that we can't trust them to make their own way and learn their own lessons, however hard those lessons may be.
For those of you who have boys in the 7-13 age range I highly recommend this book. As a matter of fact, I recommend the book to father's with sons of any age (still at home).