While there is a tendency to emphasize the plight of girls and young women, the plight of young boys should not be forgotten or ignored. Life for children trapped in the cycle of abject poverty is as tragic for boys as it is for girls. Whether in the slums of the 10/40 window or in more affluent cultures, young boys often lack proper role models and the guidance they need to become men of integrity and purpose.
Dr. Teelucksingh initiated his International Boys Day movement saying,
“There is little room for debate when I write, ‘We need to save the Boy Child.’
“We need to protect the boy child from the harmful influences of society. There is an urgent need to focus on the home and school in order to save the boy child. The boy child lives in a turbulent social environment that makes him vulnerable to a multitude of negative forces. If a boy child is neglected or fed a diet of hate and violence it is obvious he will develop into a teenager who is misguided and confused. And the next crucial transition into manhood will be even more difficult.
“Protecting the girl child is equally important. Some of us would be aware that since 2012, the United Nations marks 11 October as the “International Day of the Girl Child,” The obvious question is – why have we not dedicated a day that focuses on the Boy Child? We must not allow the continued imbalance of the gender scale. We cannot ignore that without a focus on both the boy child and the girl child, gender equality is not a reality.”
The Boys Day website warns that boys and, by default, our communities face major challenges today and into the future that must be addressed. Current research tells us that boys:
- are 50 % more likely to fail meeting basic proficiency standards in reading than girls.
- are 2 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD compared to girls
- are more likely to be the victims of violent crime
- are severely behind girls in school grades. Boys take 70% of D’s and Failed grades.
- have a suicide rate that is four times higher than girls
- are 5 times more likely to end up in juvenile detention, and 85% of those detained boys grew up without a father figure present in their lives
Warwick Marsh, Founder of the Fatherhood Foundation and cooperating partner with Dr. Teelucksingh to promote International Boys Day, added that “Worldwide, boys are 50 percent less likely than girls to meet basic proficiency standards in reading, math, and science.” He cited the simple goal of International Boys Day is to help every boy to become a man of honor and integrity so that he might be able to contribute in a vital way to his family, community, his nation, and the world.
Marsh commented that “Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh is a devout man of faith who believes in not just talking about the problems in the world around us but, like Jesus said, doing something about them and letting our good deeds shine out for all to see so that God will get the glory.”