First Blog Post (From Oman): Educating Boys


I have been going back and looking at my first attempts at blogging. I posted maybe 3-5 times before this year. Now the habit has been formed, and I blog regularly.

Here is my first post, written in my kitchen in my house on the wadi in Oman.

Hello world!

As this is my first attempt at blogging, I ended up posting my first blog  entry to the comments section. I’ll figure it out the way I always seem to- by guess and try.

I am starting this from my country kitchen on the edge of a wadi and the foot of the mountains in Nizwa Oman. The spring bird migration seems to have started this morning, as the sky is full of birdsong. The heat is on- getting up to about 100 on this fine late March morning, but the ceiling fan in sufficing at the moment.

You’ll find my first post below in “comments”. It is a reply to Nicholas Kristof’s NYT column this morning (well, I think it was actually yesterday’s in the States) on boys not making it in schools.

Mostly I want to comment on both “Days” (it was “Son’s Day” the other day, and Water Day last week) and life in general in the early 21st century, from the perspective of a woman born in the first half of the last century.

Peace, in times of war.

One comment on “Hello world!”

  1. Op-Ed Columnist
    The Boys Have Fallen Behind
    Published: March 27, 2010

    Around the globe, it’s mostly girls who lack educational opportunities. Even in the United States, many people still associate the educational “gender gap” with girls left behind in math.

    Yet these days, the opposite problem has sneaked up on us: In the United States and other Western countries alike, it is mostly boys who are faltering in school.

    It seems that this all just assumes that boys are in a completely different universe than girls, not just a differently gendered set of genes. Boys are pretty well formed by the time they are in school. It is the childhood habits that carry us through. At my age I can seen this clearly. If I become stressed, I escape to books, just as I did when I was 6 years old. Girls and boys both become readers if they are read to constantly from the time they are babies. It becomes a habitual way of knowing the world.

    The best way to predict literacy and success in childeren is to find out if the parents are readers. Putting the eye to the word becomes as habitual as putting the spoon to the mouth.

    I’ve two grandsons being raised in the midwest. They play all of the sports and video games, and love to wrestle and tumble with each other. That is, when they aren’t reading the book they have just fought over. They are way beyond the heads of their classes, and are testing off the chart. I would like to think that this is because their mother, herself raised on books, and their father, who does manual work by day and reads great books every evening, have raised them from birth on a steady diet of books…. See More

    It was the mantra since the 70’s, amongst feminists, that we need to be more gender neutral in raising our children. I think this is still very relevant. Boys like to cook, read, and beat each other up, as do girls- maybe just to different degrees. (I had a bit of a physical dust-up in my class-room just the other day between two abaya clad 18 year old girls- over who wanted the most homework! I am not kidding! This, in one of the most aggressively gendered parts of the world.

    This problem with the boys is the same as a generation ago when we declared that girls cannot do math, alas, whatever will we do, and now, with a lot of rethinking and educating differently, we have a generation of girl who will become engineers, scientists, and, yes, mathematicians.

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