We've all either seen them or been there ourselves...the frazzled mom who is hustling 11 yr old Johnny out of the car to the soccer field for practice. Laying on the back seat as he hops out is his clarinet case from his music lesson that he just came from and his sketch pad that he used in his Art lesson that took place an hour before clarinet practice. Johnny seems a bit dazed as he reaches back for his soccer ball almost as if he is attempting to remember which activity he just wrapped up and which one he is headed into. Not to mention ,this littany of activity follows a full seven to eight hours of school. Gone are the days where our kids eagerly burst through the front door after school, toss their book bags and lunch boxes on their beds, scramble into some worn out play clothes, grab a snack and head out the front door for who knows what. Maybe they will find some slugs, worms, or some kind of bug to collect or torture and pull apart...yes, I said "pull apart". Little boys tend to think of all kinds of creative and cruel things to do to insects and all manner of creepy crawly things. If a boy mom is gasping right about now, I'm a bit concerned . Why? Because any boy who hasn't exerted his power over the these tiny beings at some point in his growing up years has missed a natural rite of passage of growing up as a boy. Likewise, any boy who hasn't climbed and fallen out of a tree, or has never had his face washed in snow, or has never been part of some neighborhood scuffle or fight has also missed out . Some of you moms have now gone from gasping to outright fury over what you just read...yet I hold fast to my stance....which is this....in today's age we are robbing our young boys of developing a daring spirit. As crazy and as unpopular as it sounds, I wanted my three boys when they were little to get really dirty outside and to fall out of a tree or two (as long as it wasn't two stories high). I wanted them to have the thrill of chasing after a lightening bug, catching it, and then doing whatever they please with it....if that meant putting it in a jar with holes in the cover to keep it alive, great. But if it meant smearing it along a sidewalk to see the glow of the bug's light sparkle and shine on the front walk, that was also fine by me. I wanted them to play so hard in games of pickle, pick up basketball, manhunt, and a myriad of other games that they got soaked with sweat , out of breath and maybe in a scuffle with another kid in the neighborhood. Why? Because that is how boys learn to be competitive, conquer some fears and to feel pain. Yes, I said pain. Moms, don't be afraid to let your little boys get some scrapes, and bruises now and then. It is good for them and they will wear those wounds like a badge of honor. If you doubt me, have you ever seen a seven year old little guy with some black eye or scab or cast on his wrist?  He is so proud to show everyone of these injuries that if he could permanently display them in a trophy case somewhere he would. Why does he feel so proud you ask? Because this is how God made him!  The courageous heroes of history were not born as men...they were little boys once . Every strong and confident man who has done something well whether it be presenting himself well in a job interview to fighting courageously in a battle has something that is slowly eroding in todays' society of young boys...he has mettle, he has spunk, he is sure of himself. Where did he get this mettle?  He got it in the hundreds, no thousands of situations that he found himself in while growing up where he had freedom to explore, freedom to take risks and freedom to make split second decisions.  Our overscheduled pampered boys of today are sadly being robbed of those precious freedoms. The most risky or daring decision many of them have to make is which snack to choose before heading out to the car where they will be chauffered around for the four hours straight to three or four consecutive activities. Please don't get me wrong...my boys played in soccer leagues growing up and I am not against organized sports or for that matter, music lessons, art lessons, karate lessons or any other instructional activity. What I do fear is the over scheduling of them....bombarding our boys with one carefully organized, safe, protected, supervised event after another. By doing this, we may be developing certain talents but we are losing and sacrificing so much more...we are robbing our little guys of the "can do" spirit that was instilled in young boys for years as they grew up in this great country of ours. We are robbing them of the thrill of climbing to the highest tree branch that they didn't think they were brave enough to climb. We are depriving them of feeling that sense of accomplishment after building their first fort. We are stealing their time to just freely play, think their own thoughts, and to just "be". Why are we seeing more and more college aged young men who seem a bit lost, a bit fearful and a little more directionless these days? Perhaps, just perhaps it is because they had an overscheduled, over supervised , over protected boyhood...just some food for thought. So the next time you are tempted to sign Johnny up for that next activity, do him a huge favor...open up the back door, let him walk through it, and tell him to " go out and play"... a lost phrase in our world today . You will win his heart, you will instill a daring spirit, and God can grow him into a strong man someday because of it. Moms....he needs some mettle, not a crowded schedule !