Slaying the Dragon: The Contemporary Struggle of Adolescent Boys¿-Modern Rules in an Ancient Game by Bret Stephenson

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Bret Stephenson
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Slaying the Dragon: The Contemporary Struggle of Adolescent Boys¿-Modern Rules in an Ancient Game

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Book review

Adults have been dealing with adolescents for tens of thousands of years all across the globe. Well before the birth of America or the birth of Christ, parents were dealing with typical adolescent issues. Why didn’t native cultures have juvenile halls, residential treatment centers, mood altering drugs, or boot camps? How did they avoid the high incidence of teen violence America is experiencing, or the amount of drugs and alcohol our teens use?

It’s not that older cultures magically avoided adolescence, but that through trial and error they came upon successful models for sculpting teen boys into healthy young men. From Aleutian Eskimos to the Polynesian Islanders, from African youth to Australian Aboriginal youth, each culture found successful ways to healthily initiate their boys into men and active community members.

Slaying the Dragon looks at universal, archetypal models of adolescence that almost all traditional cultures discovered. Older cultures did not have the luxury of wasting resources on practices with teens that did not bring a positive outcome. What’s fascinating about these models is not so much how they achieved these results, but that cultures spread across time and the planet found the same approaches. It is this universal model of working teen boys that helped older cultures avoid the high level of teen dysfunction America is struggling with today. In contrast, America seems content to continue wasting precious resources on models and programs that do not work, largely because we have the resources to waste.

Slaying the Dragon offers insight into how to rebuild these ancient practices and understandings into modern programs and families. Learn the basics of rites of passage, how youth culture was invented, how corporate America is fueling negative fashions and products for teens, and what a society with happy and healthy adolescent boys is like.

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