"That's not so easy," a young, well-dressed woman said from the pews. "I have four sons," she continued, "and, with all due respect, Dr. Pollack, let me tell you something. Number one: my husband is not so hot on my trying to sit down and get all emotional with our sons. I'm not so sure he's going to encourage me to do that. And number two: these days, I don't think our boys are capable of saying much about any thing other than girls and sports, and girls and sports." People chuckled throughout the church.
"How old are your sons?" I asked.
"Eleven, thirteen, fourteen, and seventeen," the woman said.
"Do you wish you could reach inside them and get to what they're really feeling and thinking about? Is this something you would like to do?"
"If I could," she said intently, "I would." Looking around at the other boys and parents in the audience and shaking her head incredulously, she added, "I don't think many of the people in this room really feel in touch with their kids, especially not their boys. To be able to do that, we'd have to all decide we're going to give boys a break. Otherwise, nobody in this room is going to take the first step. Nobody wants his or her kid to be an outcast. So I'm not sure any of us are going to take that first step."
"I'm not so sure I agree with you," I said. "The fact that you showed up today to talk about boys is itself one of those first steps. In fact, everybody in this room decided to come here this morning because they care about boys and about making things better for boys. So everyone in this room actually is taking an important first step."
"I guess you're right," the woman said. "So thank you. Thank you for coming way out here to talk to us."
Excerpted from Real Boys' Voices by William S. Pollack, Ph.D., with Todd Shuster Copyright© 2000 by William S. Pollack, Ph.D., with Todd Shuster. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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