Having been a participant and an attendee at a number of girls’ Finishing Schools, the boys’ Finishing School experience was a completely new experience all together. The boys’ raw energy could be felt the instant one walked into Shani School- where the seminar was being held. Their anticipation and eagerness to learn coupled with their open, uninhibited curiosity was written all over their faces every time they were instructed to take part in an activity.
Dealing with a group of teenage boys was quite a learning experience for me. Interacting with boys is known to be as different from interacting with girls as day is from night. This could not have been clearer during School Series first boys’ Finishing School. The gentlemen took a hands-on approach to learning. Physical activities were much more appreciated and enjoyed than those that engaged the mind only. This was vastly different from the girls’ seminars where indoor discussions were valued more. The boys’ outdoor group activities were quite competitive in nature. They had no qualms in openly suggesting that they were the best and challenging their competition which is a great contrast to the girls’ Finishing School where competition was more friendly and encouraging.
The communication exercise, particularly, was most impressive for me. This exercise involved one blind-folded individual being lead only by instruction by his team-mate through a treacherous obstacle course. It was an activity that involved both the ability to give instructions and the cultivating of trust that manifested in faith that one’s team member would not lead them into an embarrassing failure or worse, an embarrassing tumble through the obstacle course. All the boys did this exercise without too much embarrassment which would have been guaranteed if I had to switch roles with either one of them. This may have shed light on the innate nature of the male species to take and give instruction and the bigger feat of overcoming ones distrust of others and following instructions blindly(in this case quite literally). This I found quite impressive.
I facilitated the relationship segment of the seminar. It was especially interesting because it had to be given from a woman’s point of view. The session was quite animated due to its highly personal nature and the unspoken requirement that the boys look deep within themselves and be completely candid. To my surprise, the boys were very open in the expression of their emotional desires and had no qualms in sharing them. As the session went along it became quite evident that a lot of the views the Y generation hold have a very strong foundation in media influence: the kind of woman they like, the kind of women they would be attracted to and even their views on sex and relationships were heavily dependent on music videos, E! news and Hollywood standards. The most humorous part of all this was fact that the young men were completely unaware of how strongly their views had been shaped by external sources and some even went ahead to completely deny these “harsh accusations.” The strong media influence should be a key point to note for people bringing up children or attempting to engage in relationships in this day and age. It became unmistakeably apparent that the boy child is left to fend for himself when it comes to gathering information on love, sex and relationships and is therefore left at the mercy of the ruthless media, which in my opinion is a great fail on the part of the society. The society should not forget the male child in matters of the heart as they too form the foundations of families, corporates and even nations. It is pivotal that each individual lends a hand in correcting the wrongs that are long overdue.
All in all, the boys’ Finishing School was a great learning experience to the attendees and the mentors as a whole.
By Natasha Haavi.