I’m blogging tonight—developing a manliness curriculum
Ok, this blogging drought has to end sometime, right? I’ve got so many things I want to write about, I just am really having trouble finding the time and words to write them. But today, one awesome thing happened that I wanted to share.
This morning I saw a great post by Grant Lichtman about Presbyterian Day School, a k-6 boys school in Memphis, TN, and coincidentally, the school I attended for kindergarten and first grade.
In his post, Grant described how PDS has developed a list of key life skills they promise to teach every boy by 6th grade. Here they are:
- Doing a load of laundry (wash, dry, fold)
- Washing the dishes
- Ironing a shirt and pants
- Pump gas
- Cleaning a room (make bed, clean room, mop, dust, clean bathroom)
- Cook a basic meal
- Grill a hamburger
- Community service project
- Rules of dress (matching, dressing for occasions)
- Mowing, weeding, edging a lawn
- Tie a tie
- Start a fire
- Study for a test
- Drive a nail
- Write a handwritten thank-you note
- Conversation etiquette in person and on the phone
- Dating etiquette
- Basic first aid
- Give a speech
This got me thinking. My school has recently started a men’s affinity group at the behest of a few boys to talk about various issues related to masculinity. We’ve only met once, but I’m really impressed by the potential for this group. In addition, a colleague of mine who does duty on my dorm has a regular weekly men’s meeting on dorm where they talk about what it means to be a man at our school, and the guys love it.
After reading Grant’s post, I sent an email to my colleague wondering what would happen if we asked the boys at our school to make a similar list. What does a manliness curriculum look like for a guy who graduates from St. Andrew’s? What life skills should he have?
Tonight, my colleague had that discussion with our dorm, and here’s the list they generated:
- How to cook
- How to survive a night in the wilderness
- How to Hunt
- How to respect all people (be empathetic)
- How to tie a bow tie
- How to chop firewood
- How to jumpstart a car
- How to cold start a chainsaw
- How to change a tire
- How to change a diaper
- How to negotiate
- How to fish
- How to cut hair
- How to shave
- How to manage finances
- How to catch mice
- How to discipline children
- How to treat a woman
Our thought is to do this with a couple of more dorms, and then bring the guys group together to compare the lists and see how this might be the first step in building a manliness curriculum. Once we get the list, it shouldn’t be too hard for the guys to self organize lessons on many of these topics and teach one another.
All of this has me pretty excited, and it also has me thinking if it is seemingly this easy for students to design their own curriculum for life skills, why can’t students have more say in the shape and design of the more traditional academic curriculum?