With love, work, boys' potential can be fulfilled

The Greek philosopher Plato recognized the challenge 23 centuries and billions of boys ago: “Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable.” So how can we improve upon something so big, complex and “unmanageable” as the lot of boys today?

Awareness helps, experts say: In the last decades of the 20th century, lifting girls to their fuller potential required viewing their lives through a new set of spectacles.

Just look around. See where boys, everywhere, have triumphed over obstacles, where parents have made the right moves, where volunteers and neighbors have stepped up to make boys feel wanted, not “unmanageable.”

In today's conclusion to “Raising Our Boys Better,” The Star looks at success stories: A former problem child who grabbed headlines in northwest Missouri is 23 now, determined to minister to troubled youth. In Grandview, an alcoholic father beats the habit and mends fractured ties with his sons. And maybe at a school near you, dads line up to be male mentors in elementary classrooms.

Economic factors that dictate any child's security can seem overwhelming, intractable. Still, the secrets to building strong, happy, caring sons are out there for the plucking, one small example after another.

Plato, again, on looking at large issues: “You cannot conceive the many without the one.”

Even if it's one boy at a time.