Clinical psychologist, Adam Cox, who spent the last two years interviewing boys in 20 schools around the globe in an attempt to find out how they understand significance in their lives, offered this story today to the UCC faculty:
“You can try this out in any school from New Zealand to New England. Have the headmaster walk into an assembly and say, ‘The mayor has just called. We need 5 boys to go downtown right away for dangerous and dirty work. You won’t get home until after midnight, and you’ll be expected to be right back here at school first thing in the morning.’
What may surprise you is that almost every boy in the room will have his hand in the air and a ‘pick me’ look on his face.”
Cox’s story suggests something about how boys yearn to have impact. They want to do real and important work.
When I first landed at UCC 7 years ago, I had never heard of the Fenian Raids and was surprised when I stumbled upon a plaque, which paid tribute to the UCC boys who had served in the cause. (After the American Civil War, troops from Toronto went down to Niagara to defend the boarder against the Fenians, who were attacking the Dominion in an attempt to force the British to give up control of Ireland.) The UCC Battalion was then called upon to defend the city.
Listening to Adam Cox, I could only imagine the spring in the step of those brave and purposeful boys, as they marched down Avenue Road in 1867!