In a world where boys are taught that to be masculine is to use physicality over emotions, art can teach them where gentleness is still masculine, and when to exercise the ladder.
Just like yoga and dance, art is another way for a young boy to see that his power and strength does not just lye in the size of his biceps, but in his heart as well. More and more these days young boys are developing eating disorders, considering plastic surgery, abusing steroids and energy drinks trying to be like the "loud and proud" men they see in movies, tv, video games, and music videos. Yes boys will be boys, and being physical is normal way for boys with developing testosterone to behave, but boys are emotional creatures too.
When boys are not taught how to effectively manage their emotions in difficult and stressful situations, they lash out physically or internally. Alot of young men are afraid to express their emotions in front of their peers as they get older, and in turn,push it deep down inside until they are overwhelmed with anxiety and lash out. I truly believe all young men are capable of being gentle physically,as long as they have a spiritual and creative outlet to safely express it in.
I have had the privilege of teaching young boys dance, yoga, and music from the ages of 2 and up, and have witnessed first hand how they can grow into gentleman who are respectful to women verbally, and less violent with their peers. When they play fight they know when to stop,and are much more equipped to verbally express their feelings before a serious conflict arises. Some of the boys I have instructed were the bully or were being bullied in school, and it amazed me how by simply listening to them nervously express their emotions when they first began to open up made a huge difference. All of a sudden they were asking to help me co-teach and would even bring me water and drawings, as well as food.
Art teaches boys how to engage in nature, science, history and various subjects in a non confrontational way. For boys with learning disabilities, or behavior challenges they can become and remain engaged in subjects that they may otherwise have done poorly in over time. Art not only raises boys mental intelligence, but their emotional as well.
Art naturally makes a person pause, slow down, and think about the world around them and allows for the greatest or most painful memories to be turned into something positive.
Whether you purchase them art kits for them to use at their leisure at home, or sign them up for an art class, a meditating child, is a more balanced child.
Stephanie A.E Strugar
Certified Grumbacher Painting & Drawing Instructor.
She is a retired Certified Face/ Body & Temporary Tattoo Artist.
Caricaturist. She is currently an active
Public Speaker, Consultant, and Arts Educator in the Manitoba and greater Canada area.