How do we get boys involved in things ?
There are two excellent dance schools in Whitehaven. One of them, the Cowper School of Dance, put on a wonderful display called “Hot Shoes” last weekend for the Whitehaven Lions.
There were a large number of acts involving every age group from very small children, including my son and daughter, to adults.
In the past dancing was largely a mixed activity: sadly it is one of a many activities which no longer seem to have much support from boys. My son was one of only three boys, all very small, who took part last weekend.
Perhaps this is partly a matter of parental support: when parents were invited to the dress rehearsal for “Hot Shoes” I only saw about half a dozen other fathers who were there (compared with scores of mums.) It’s only fair to qualify this comment by saying it was not reflected in the audience at the actual performances – there were plenty of dads and other male relatives at these, including the Sunday afternoon which partly clashed with the England v Ecuador match.
In some cases activities which logically ought to work perfectly as mixed activities only seem to survive amongst boys when they are kept as a male preserve. Church choirs are the classic example – I can fully understand why women and girls want to a chance to take part in church music, and support their right to do so, yet I don’t know of a church choir which has gone mixed and has not eventually lost the boys.
Both mixed and male voice choirs can be wonderful to listen to and take part in, and perhaps we need to find a way to keep each of them (and perhaps female voice choirs to balance things – though they might have trouble finding tenors and basses.)
Perhaps the problem is an indirect consequence of a media and politically correct culture which constantly attacks and ridicules men. Most adult males are confident enough to be able to deal with it, but a lot of boys respond by labelling mixed or female-majority interests, or anything which appears to be feminised, as “sissy” and refusing to have anything to do with them. And that is a shame, as both the next generation of men and women will be in danger of missing out on some worthwhile things as a result.