Tho’ts on Boys

Just the other night Shirley and I watched a TV show describing the influence Jewish lyricists and librettists have had on American musical theater.  Much of their work reflected their heritage as part of an oppressed people — outsiders, maligned for no offense other than their ethnicity.  One example which really resonated with me involved the musicals of  Richard Rodgers (1902–1979) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895–1960), a hugely influential, innovative and successful American writing team, usually referred to as Rodgers and Hammerstein.    I was especially touched by the song “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught”  (see lyrics below) sung by Lt. Cable in the musical South Pacific, and how it applies to boys growing up.  The musical song was directed against racial prejudice but I’m thinking how the principle applies to so many more areas of life and how sad it is that many young men have no father available to “carefully” teach them how to be men of integrity, courage, and of noble character.  Praise God that He is available as the Heavenly Father to carefully instruct us through His Word.

There are tons of articles, books, blog posts, research studies, etc., describing the plight of young men in a society which doesn’t seen to understand how to deal with masculinity and more often as not permits them to be portrayed in the popular media as no more than moronic boobs; fair targets for ridicule and  derision.  And, indeed, because we haven’t been carefully taught we all too frequently deserve stereotype. 

What ever happened to letting “boys be boys?” Take these two cases: In one, a seven-year-old boy was sent home for nibbling a Pop Tart into a gun. In another, a teacher was so alarmed by a picture drawn by a student (of a sword fight), that the boy’s parents were summoned in for a conference. In short, boys in America’s schools are routinely punished for being active, competitive, and restless. In other words, boys can no longer be boys. An interesting take on a part of the cultural force which seems to be opposing our future men is expressed by Dr. Christina Hoff Summers, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, who believes that if boys are in trouble (and they are), so are we.

Click here for video of Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers discussing the dilemma boys face in today’s classrooms and society.


PS Here are the words to the Rogers and Hammerstein song:

You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught

You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

For YouTube video of the movie version click here.

You've Got to be Carefully Taught

You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught


About ronfurg

Former naval officer, federal investigator, forensic scientist, senior executive service member and pastor. In retirement serves as volunteer and life group leader at New Life Christian Church ( Devoted to beautiful wife, kids and grandkids. Looking forward to the time when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all and that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
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