From the Head of Crowther Centre – Dr Ray Swann

Raising boys in this day and age

Tim Winton spoke recently in Melbourne to promote his new book, The Shepherd’s Hut (a fictional account about a disaffected young man, Jaxie Clackton). Described as a ‘brilliant and uncomfortable book’ (SMH, 10 March 2018), The Shepherd’s Hut explores through the actions and voice of Jaxie both the modern context as well as the factors that may contribute to his life decisions. Winton said: “Sadly, modernity has failed to replace traditional codes with anything explicit, coherent, or benign. We’re left with values that are residual, fuzzy, accidental or sniggeringly conspiratorial.”

In our modern time, to whom do we look for guidance to help set the parameters or ‘norms’ for codes and values? As an Anglican school, our Christian practice provides a bridge into the deeper questions and aspects of purpose and meaning. Still, with the deluge of information as well as the challenges to traditional codes that Winton describes, how do we as adults help to engage and raise our boys to make decisions about how to connect with the world?

Further complicating matters is research that indicates that ‘the more closely adolescent boys and young men conform to traditional masculine norms, the poorer their attitudes are to help seeking and the greater their risk to mental health risk status’. (Wong et al., 2017)

Pleasingly, there is a vanguard of researchers, thinkers and teachers looking at this.

I am very much looking forward to reading Steve Biddulph’s new book, Raising Boys in the 21st Century, which tackles this issue and provides help through case studies and examples. The School’s work with Orygen in the Positive Masculinity space is also an initiative in this field. The overarching aim of this work is to foster the development of healthy young men through innovative, relevant and engaging strategies. We also encourage parents to attend the upcoming Engaging Adolescents workshop here at the Crowther Centre, where you will learn some further tips and strategies about how to engage with your adolescent son or prepare yourself for the years to come.

Crowther Events – Looking Ahead

The Crowther Centre will be running three workshops this term (details below). We hope to see parents from ELC to VCE coming along to learn and share.

Effective Learner Workshop

When – Thursday 7 June, 6–7pm

What – A workshop event to explore the Effective Learner model and look at how you can build routines into your home

Where – Wellbeing Centre

Book – Please book here


Engaging Adolescents Workshop [SOLD OUT]
Put your name on our wait list now and register for future events

When – Thursday 14 June, 4–5pm

What – This workshop is for parents of boys who are heading into adolescence (or already in it) and will have a focus on building and establishing communication with your son as well as managing technology

Where – Wellbeing Centre

Book – Add your name to the waitlist here


Effective Learner Workshop (for parents and guardians of international boys only)

When – Monday 4 June, 2.30–3.30pm

What – A workshop event to explore the Effective Learner model and look at how you can build routines into your home. There will be a Chinese interpreter present at the event.

Where – Wellbeing Centre

Book – Please book here