As described in post 1621, daughters are born knowing they are pretty. They need to hear it continually throughout childhood. Convinced in childhood, girls grow into women that possess high levels of self-respect, self-confidence, and self-importance. Then to paraphrase Forrest Gump’s mother, pretty is as pretty does.
As counterpoint to females born pretty, God designs, Nature endows, and hormones energize males to be handy. Handy is as handy does. Men know it in their heart of hearts. If they don’t, parents and teachers let them down. Childhood was no challenge. They were left to drift. They didn’t learn how to be a handy and valuable adult, convince themselves of it, and thus reinforce their sense of significance.
Toddlers don’t wait around to be made handy. They strike out early in life proving to themselves that they are valuable in doing and changing things. Under different guises, males continue it for life. Of course, immaturity, undeveloped coordination, or perhaps mischievousness often results in things being broken rather than beneficially changed.
Before he breaks, distorts, or paints something, the unseen motive in a boy’s mind is to make it work better or appear differently. Absent mean intentions, his mind aims to learn and to improve, not do wrong. He might break a dish moving it or just pushing his way through to another dish on the table. He might break an object moving it out of his way to do something else. He might find a spray can and paint something. He might topple a cabinet trying to climb it. In each case, his intentions start honorable. That he fails in his objective reflects no intention to damage. Boys continually both climb and campaign to prove their ability, self-worth, and thus earn self-admiration. Toddlers just happen to do it more sloppily and less successfully than older boys.
Boys aspire to gain parental approval when purposely trained to do it. Parents win approval by confirming what any boy knows in his heart of hearts, that he is handy and not bad, not dumb, not accident prone, and above all not worthless. At least he has every intention of not being any of those things, so he expects parental recognition of it.
The self-fulfilling prophecy helps win parental approval. After something is broken, the first involved parent stresses how handy the boy is, how accidents happen, and reinforces how valuable is his usefulness. (The other parent need not get involved and especially doesn’t reverse the first.) Soon thereafter as if nothing happened, the first parent asks the boy to prove his usefulness by doing something just slightly beyond his maturity. The request signifies three things. He’s forgiven for past misdeeds, trusted to test new skills, and both bond the boy’s loyalty to the parent.
Is that all? Do boys only need to be told they’re handy? Nope, as with girls they need NOT be told they are something that sounds important outside the family, such as handsome, good looking, or hunk-like. Those terms bring outsiders into family considerations. Also, it makes brothers of unequal attractiveness feel unequally valuable. On the other hand, boys unequally handy in the home have no such distinction outside the home, among girls for example.
Parents can let relationships with girls develop without the family distorting a boy’s mindset with claims that he’s handsome or good looking. Those terms are and should be declared meaningless within the family as are ‘attractive’ and ‘beautiful’ for girls. More simply put, excluding those terms in family relations strengthens family bonding.
Girls start pretty and boys start handy. They need those convictions strongly confirmed in childhood so that girlish importance and boyish usefulness are easily usable in school and womanly self-importance and manly self-admiration are easy to gain throughout life.