The Magic of Star Wars, Review of Star Wars POE’s X-Wing Fighter Build N Play Set

Boys and Star Wars

star wars the force awakens

Excitement builds for the new Star Wars movie – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

poe's x-wing fighterI watched a Fireman’s Parade a few weeks back hoping to take some fun photographs. Apparently the parade got started late so while sitting for an hour near two grandparents and an early elementary boy, I heard all about Star Wars. This little guy could tell me anything I wanted to know about the movies, the TV programs and more – and he did, for 40 minutes! Today on facebook a friend stated he had just purchased 65 tickets to the opening night of the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. He was getting ready to make a great memory. His wife teasingly asked “Do you even have 65 friends?”

So what is it about Star Wars and boys – young and old? What is the magic which attracts them to this story?

The Star Wars movies have several components that draw boys and men into the story.

First, it is about self sacrifice and fighting for something bigger than yourself. Next it holds family and friendship very strongly. The movie presents tension with good and evil clearly on opposite sides. The characters are flawed, but heroic. Finally, there is lots of adventure and action and a few pretty girls (for the older boys.) What more can any male want?

I know many boys love to “play” Star Wars, especially the battle scenes. So it would be great if your son could feed his creative imagination and even be tested with some intellectual skill, fine motor practice and even patience, just like we used to get from making model kits back in the day – right? Well, maybe he can. Continue reading

Fun with Science – Batteries

My father was one of the original screen time haters. If I was watching too much TV he would say “turn that idiot box off!” (Yes, he called it that because he said it would turn us into idiots.) So, when forced to turn the TV off, I would have to find something to do. Mostly that involved going outside. But if the weather was frightful then I would have to figure out what I could do inside. At around 10 or 11 years old toys did not have a strong attraction for me so I began taking apart old radios and other small electronics. Without having any idea what I was doing, I was somehow able to fix many of these electronic devices. When I ran out of small electronics I found out that there was a host of fun projects one could do with a few electronic components and a battery. Continue reading

Teaching Boys Right and Wrong

Spend 15 minutes to reinforce what is right and what is wrong. Here is how.

DSC_3622Teaching boys the difference between right and wrong can sometimes be a challenge. But all of us know a man whose understanding of right and wrong is very immature. Wanting to raise a mature man requires we spend some time to help our sons see the clear difference between what is right and what is wrong. One of the ways my wife and I would teach our children was through watching a movie together and then discussing the movie afterwards.

As many of you know I am not a fan of increasing a boy’s screen time, however some screen time will not hurt and especially if you are going to watch a film together with your son.

The following is an independent film that runs only 12 minutes and can be watched on YouTube. It is cleverly written and would be great for an elementary and early middle school boy to watch and discuss together with his parent. The film presents a boy in a tricky situation. Continue reading

Are Schools Failing Our Boys?

DSC_1335School has started and many boys have headed back to the classroom. Sending them off we assume that they will be loved and protected by the teachers and administration. But are our son’s best interests being looked out for?

If you want to have a greater chance of being diagnosed with ADD, childhood depression, be behind in reading, get disciplined in school more frequently, be expelled from school or drop out of school what do you have to do? Be born a boy.

Girls will out score boys in every subject at every grade level except for the last two years of school where boys tie or slightly outscore girls in Math and Science. (And I have recently seen some studies that now say girls outscore boys in those areas and grades as well.) Continue reading

How to Raise a Gentleman

A son who is a gentleman is every mom’s dream. You imagine a dapper, handsome and charming boy sweeping everyone off their feet with his awesome gentleman qualities. Right? Isn’t that how it is in real life? Maybe not. And truthfully even if you did an amazing job raising your son, it still is not likely to be reality. But don’t give up all hope. I have watched many parents raise some great boys who I would readily call gentleman. It may not be as mysterious as some think. So how can you increase the odds that your son will turn out to be a gentleman? Here are a few items to think about. Continue reading

5 Things Only An Adoptive Dad Can Give His Son

When I have listened to people talk about the adoption process I have huge respect for them. Countless hours of research, paperwork, meetings and interviews. And despite the huge mountain to climb often friends and family openly question why anyone would want to adopt “someone else’s problem” or a baby one doesn’t know much about.

Dad’s who have adopted – you are so very important to your son. Keeping your marriage strong, setting an example for your son may take a huge amount of work, but it is well worth it! Thank you for all you have done, not just for your boy, but for his future generations and for our society as a whole. You are so vital and so important.

Let me encourage you to continue to invest in your son. Here are 5 things only an adoptive dad can give his son: Continue reading

Boys, Grandparents and A Deck of Playing Cards = Magic

boys_playing_cards_3Sometimes older boys, especially those entering the teen years seem to have little in common with their grandparents. Except for dinner time many boys do not naturally engage with their grandparents.

Since all boys like to conquer and competition is a close cousin, many boys like a good game that allows them to compete. Since grandparents are unlikely to pick up the X-Box some sort of compromise is needed. Enter a Deck of Playing Cards!

Then watch the magic! Continue reading

5 Things Only A Biological Father Can Give His Son

Over the last few decades I have watched as the cultural image and respect for fathers has eroded. With record breaking numbers of children being born out of wedlock and a discouraging number being raised without their fathers present or engaged our culture continues to suffer the consequences of fatherless homes.

For those fathers who have chosen traditional marriage along with prioritizing, working on and creating a stable home, thank you! Let me further encourage you to take a look at the list below and make sure you provide what only you can. Here are 5 things only you are able to give your son. Continue reading

A Boy’s First Bow and Arrow

boys_bow_n_arrows

This project is very simple even for the Dad who hates to build things.

All toys should be dead until touched by a child. A toy’s only purpose should come from the consequence of the physical manipulation and imagination of a child.  If it moves, makes noises, flashes or can operate on its own it is not a toy but a form of entertainment. Our boys do not need any more entertainment. They need imaginative play! They need toys that naturally engage them in play.

Perhaps because I am reading Summer of Two Worlds by J. Arthur Moore about a boy who was raised by American Indians that I thought of how fun it was for me as a child to play with bow and arrows. I can remember spending many a day shooting homemade arrows at cans and seeing how far I could get an arrow to fly.

The bow and arrow is a great toy for boys.But I know Moms want one that is safe, especially for younger boys. So I have gone out and looked around to find how to make a safe, simple, fun bow and arrow.

Here is a great DIY project, perfect for a dad, even without great tool skills. For that matter you don’t even need loads of tools. You will need a saw. I think most dads can handle that!

Check it out! Continue reading