Building Boys Bulletin 12-9-19

CBS documentary looks at raising boys in the #MeToo era

“There are a lot of threads right now that are telling boys, Who you are is not OK. What you like is not OK. How you want to be is not OK.” — Jennifer L.W. Fink in Raising Boys

Those of you currently raising boys are always well aware of the struggles and challenges faced by boys and their families. You already know that boys too are limited by gender stereotypes and that a lot of people assume the worst about boys and men. You know that social norms are shifting and that it’s on us parents to raise respectful men, even as our society continues to celebrate and elevate individuals who embody characteristics that are the exact opposite of what we’re supposed to teach our sons.

People who don’t have boys, though, don’t often appreciate the precarious position are boys are in. And that’s why (OK — one reason why) I’m thrilled the CBS News recently released a brand-new documentary Raising Boys.

Watch it. Share it. It will take all of us — parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, legislators, community members — to create a healthier reality for our boys (and girls.)

In the News

Rethinking School Lunch — School Leaders Now article by BuildingBoys founder Jennifer L.W. Fink


  • “Lunch is so much more than bodily sustenance. It’s a chance to affect students’ physical and emotional well-being, to support developing independence, and to develop meaningful relationships.”

  • “Most school lunch programs are designed around the needs of adults. And most school lunches don’t work particularly well for students.”

  • “Rethinking the lunch experience is an opportunity to support students’ socioemotional needs.”

Girls or Boys — Should Toys Just Be Toys? — BBC short film


  • “These are supposed to be enlightened times. So why do we still have so much gendered stuff?”

  • “It [social pressures related to gender] starts so, so early that it’s hard to differentiate between what is an innate desire and what is a learned behavior.”

  • “We’re happy to see female characters presented in a more diverse way, but where are all the nurturing, caring, sensitive boy characters? There’s still a bit of a way to go…”

44 Best Empathy Books of All Time — includes books to teach children empathy (there’s even one book aimed specifically at boys!), as well as parenting titles

ON BOYS Podcast

Middle School Matters with Phyllis Fagell

If you don't understand why a tween boy might think it's a good idea to send pics of his privates to a friend, you need to listen to this episode!

Phyllis Fagell is a school counselor and the author of Middle School Matters: The 10 Key Skills Kids Need to Thrive in Middle School & Beyond and How Parents Can Help

  • “Worry when your son STOPS pushing back.”

  • “We have an empathy deficit for boys.”

  • “Middle school boys love hard, care hard and mean well. They want to be funny and well-liked, but they may not yet have the socioemotional skills and experience to avoid unintentionally harming or even humiliating others.”

Masculinity in the Age of #MeToo — We published this episode in April 2018. If you missed it, you might want to go back and listen, especially in light of the CBS documentary

On BuildingBoys

Why I’m Building Boys

I am not saying we need to bend over backwards to accommodate the needs or whims of males. I am saying that we ignore boys’ distress at our peril. I’m saying that, in an era of female empowerment, many of our boys and young men feel ignored, dismissed and blamed.

Why are you building boys? Drop me an email and let me know —