Published here with permission from The MOORE REPORT INTERNATIONAL - September/October 1997

The Moore Foundation, Box 1, Camas, WA 98607

What are we doing to our boys?

by Dr. Raymond S. Moore

In a time when feminists allege that we don't prepare our boys to be men who know their place with women, we seem [determined] to prove them right. Every state in America and every province in Canada winks at a scientifically established and universally-acknowledged fact: At school entrance, little boys normally lag a year or so behind girls in overall maturity. No wonder so many are antsy in body language and short in attention span through their early school years.

Boys do not generally catch up with their sisters until well into their twenties. Although this is one of the most commonly-conceded facts among educators and psychologists, every state in America mandates boys into school at the same age as girls in one of the most pervasive forms of child abuse in our nation. And the result is an inexcusable shame on all of us. It is responsible for much of the train of failure, delinquency, violence, rape and suicide that disgraces our neighborhoods daily and drives our society down the same primrose path as ancient Greece and Rome.

More than ten years ago Professor Anne Soderman of Michigan State University was deeply impressed with figures from the American Academy of Pediatricians on the "dramatic increase of 'stress-related' young children." She had reason to be. So she wrote ominously in Education Week (March 14, 1984), "Frustrated kindergarten teachers acknowledge they are contributing to the pressure but say they feel caught up in having to prepare children for 1st-grade expectations." Then she added the stunner: Because we fail to apply in the classroom what we learn through research, "boys in our secondary schools outnumber girls 13 to 1 in remedial classes and by as much as 8 to 1 in classes for the emotionally impaired."

There isn't a replicable piece of research in all of American education lore which suggests that little children should be institutionalized by ages 3 or 4 as the National Education Association insists, nor by 5 or 6 or even 7. We have rationalized ourselves into a collective public school baby-sitting syndrome which accommodates our bent to get our children out from under our feet as soon as they are out of diapers, and many can't wait that long. And then we blame the schools for the certain results. From California to Virginia and New York we are mandating our babes into institutional life by 5, and often earlier. For nearly 20 years Houston has goaded them into school by 3, as urged by the NEA since 1976.

The NEA, of course, knows better, but appears more concerned about jobs than for children, if we are to believe Spokesman Gerald Koch of Omaha, then education committee chairman of the Nebraska Legislature and reputedly close to the NEA. He insisted that school attendance should be reduced from age 7 to 3 (Lincoln, Nebraska Journal, Oct. 1, 1981). His rationale: The change could help public schools reverse declining enrollments by creating a new population reserve. No matter which side you take in the abortion war, it is tempting to ask the NEA if it knows that its position on abortion loses it around 1,500,000 youngsters a year.

What does all this do to our boys and many of our girls? Ask the dispensers of Ritalin. Or juvenile parole officers. Or any pediatrician or family counselor who gives slightest attention to research and the early childhood distress all around them. Eminent scholars from Cal-Berkeley to Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Yale and Tufts are disturbed, if not appalled. All of them know children will find family, if not at home, then on the streets with a gang or in the back seat of a car in the embrace of another parental reject.

We don't say that all Ritalin-riddled kids went to school too early. We are well aware of the impact of (1) unbalanced, unhealthy diets, especially those overdosed with sugar and fats, and over snacked to the damnation of their mental and physical immune systems, or (2) TV-pummeled offspring who live largely without energy or aim.

Yet even those pervasive problems do not keep parents from changing the average Ritalin- drugged youngster in short order if they will adopt a range of simple, possible and proven therapies: (1) Shower theme with sincere, warm responses that are deserved, (2) build their immune systems with well-chewed fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grain and plenty of water, and avoid sugar and snacking, (3) keep them constructively busy doing their share of chores at home and earning through their own businesses, (4) show them how to do good deeds for others at home and in the community, in pediatric units at hospitals or learning and serving at local nursing homes. (5) Encourage their creativity even if it sometimes seems odd. (6) Develop their manual skills by hands-on work at home and in the community. (7) Build an altruistic sociability by service in the home and neighborhood. (8) Increase their responsibility at every practicable turn and award them commensurate authority or freedom. (9) Don't institutionalize them until they are ready mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially. (10) Keep them close to home until their values are thoroughly established.

It is noteworthy that homeschool families who are following this formula are today qualifying for scholarships from Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Cornell to Stanford, Cal-Berkeley and Rhodes Scholarships at Oxford. If you need more information on such a virtually unanimously-proven formula, write the Moore Foundation at Box 1, Camas, WA 98607 or call 360-835-5500.