Smart Boys: Talent, Manhood, and the Search for Meaning

Smart Boys: Talent, Manhood, and the Search for Meaning

by Barbara A. Kerr, Sanford J. Cohn

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Overview

Boys will be boys--but gifted boys may need help. Depression, underachievement, sensitivity, and relationship struggles are just some of the issues that many smart boys face on a daily basis. This book presents suggestions to help gifted young men embrace optimism, motivation, and achievement, and it offers thought-provoking insights and tips for engaging in successful interactions. There are also interviews with gifted adult men who have experienced and overcome crises or failures.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780910707435
Publisher: Anodyne, Inc. DBA Great Potential Press, Inc.
Publication date: 10/01/2001
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 370
Sales rank: 898,679
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.77(d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

What is happening to our gifted boys? As psychologists who specialize in the development of talent, we hear disturbing news from our clients, our students, and the media. An overwhelming number of the bright boys who are referred to us and others for counseling are underachieving. That is, they are just not bothering to do their homework, and they are not getting involved in school activities. They are bored in the classroom and disengaged outside of the classroom. In some suburban high schools, it seems the girls are taking over the student government, the school paper, and the yearbook, while the boys have abdicated any and all leadership roles. Bright boys may see athletics as the one area in which they must achieve if they are to be valued and accepted, while they simultaneously camouflage being smart. Even though they may have a secret contempt for the attitudes they perceive as underlying school sports, they harbor no real hope of making any changes so that they, too, might receive the respect that athletes get.

In their adolescent relationships, they are often hesitant and distrustful. They may have only a few male friends. They dislike the superficial aspects of the dating game. Even though they may be contemptuous of the current dating system, they are confused about any alternative ways of relating to young women. Those who are gay are usually closeted, especially now in the wake of several recent conspicuous murders and other acts of violence toward gay males. Certainly, bullying is a frequent occurrence for them and their acquaintances, and they see the bumper stickers that say, "My child just beat up your honor student." The gifted boys whoare shy are often called "nerd," "dork," or "geek" by their agemates...

The real tragedy of the gifted male is that he has the cognitive complexity to understand the illusory nature of the quest for the masculine ideal, while at the same time feeling helpless to abstain from that quest. It is the thesis of this book that many gifted boys and men struggle throughout their lives to ignore the urgings of their intellect and creative selves in order to fulfill socially ordained masculine roles. It is our belief that parents and educators can and, indeed, must help our gifted boys tune in to their inner selves and, by doing so, help them realize their intellectual potential. This book examines and integrates current literature on boys and men with research on male giftedness in order to create new, practical approaches to guiding gifted boys. We present to the reader a new vision of what a gifted boy can become--a vision of courage, creativity, and commitment.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsvii
Introduction1
Section IGiftedness and Masculinity15
Chapter 1Our Follow-Up Study of Gifted Men17
Chapter 2Who Are These Gifted Boys?39
Chapter 3All Those Books about Boys81
Section IIMilestones and Danger Zones99
Chapter 4The Young Gifted Boy101
Chapter 5The Adolescent Gifted Boy125
Chapter 6The Adult Gifted Male155
Section IIISpecial Challenges for Gifted Boys175
Chapter 7Underachievement177
Chapter 8Gifted Sociopaths, Redeemable Rebels, and How to Tell the Difference201
Chapter 9They're Called Sissies, Fat Boys, and Nerds229
Chapter 10Gifted Minority Boys255
Section IVGuiding Smart Boys275
Chapter 11The Gifted Male in the Family277
Chapter 12Guiding the Intellectual, Emotional, and Spiritual Development of Gifted Males301
Chapter 13Realization of Potential for Gifted Males: Courage, Creativity, and Commitment319
Index343
About the Authors359

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