Reactions to “The Good Son” Reading

Chapter 2 of “The Good Son” starts off with a captivating Indian tale of how the children of a certain kingdom were dissapearing due to the greed and selfishness of  the people.  The conclusion of the story is how the parents began to listen better to their children and avoid the “monster” that was eating their children.  The author then likens how our culture and society robs our sons (and daughters) of many things- from family ties and bonds to what it means to be a man, and how the media can so easily “poison our boys.”

I thought it almost depressing when I read the study done by the Department of Justice, when it found that one of the most clearly defined causes of “acting out” morally or antisocially had a direct link with the absence of intimate realationships with fathers.  What a potentially devastating consequence of the lack of father-son bonds!  I also read that in similar fashion, as increasing women and mothers engage in the work force, the mother-son bonds are becoming as frayed as the father-son ones.  The result of no parental bond would be staggering.  “The Good Son” also explains that brain development occurs faster and more completly the more intense the parent and child are attached.  Because our culture is increasingly pulling parents further away into the work field, bonds are being lost, and our children are “dissapearing” at an ever-constant rate.

The author also describes an assembly at a high school where he asks some boys if they are men (and of course they say yes), but when the author asks what defines a man, the students are speechless.  He then describes a man as someone who lives their life like a mission, searching for truth.  However, many young children have a hard time explaining what exactly truth is or even what good is, so how can these kids become a man if they don’t even know what truth is?  This reminds me of a quote from Alice in Wonderland, where the cheshire cat states: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”  This describes these boys, because if they don’t know what truth is or what they want from life, they may not end up on the right road to manhood.  I also believe it is important parents help children set goals and also help them see their future potential, so culture doesn’t steal a boy’s future.

The media is also a potent form of influence in the lives of adolescences.  In “The Good Son,” it says that children see 100,000 violent images before the age of 18 and 80,000 sexual images by puberty!  That is a lot of outside influence telling boys what to believe is socially acceptable.  The book also doles out plent of negative aspects of the media’s influence, and even points out that in modern TV shows, the male figure is even seen as unneccessary.  These are quite alarming when discussing how much the media impacts the youth, but it is also comforting that a parent can help the young boys realize that violence, although glamorized is not good for them, as well as sexual images.  Parents can also help boys realize what it really means to be a man and help them see what an integral role they are in the family.

I’m glad I got to read the second chapter of this amazing book and for all the things I have learned so I can protect my future children from the many perils that can prove detrimental to their development.  I also believe, like the old Indian tale, that if parents would truly listen to and help their children, this world would be a much better place.

Mike Angerbauer

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~ by Mike Angerbauer on November 27, 2009.

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