The Faith and Friendships of Teenage Boys

This post is reblogged from Allan Hugh Cole, Jr., author.  As I contemplate initiating the next Essays on Childhood series, I am grateful for Allan’s mentoring role in my life and for his considerable talent in revealing the mysteries of the human heart and mind.

My next book, The Faith and Friendships of Teenage Boys (Westminster John Knox Press), coauthored with Robert Dykstra and Donald Capps, will be published next summer. It follows-up on our previous book, Losers, Loners, and Rebels: The Spiritual Struggles of Boys (Westminster John Knox Press, 2007).

This new book focuses on the intimate and faithful friendships that teenage boys form with other boys, especially with a “best friend.” Recognizing that boys at this age experience a deeply felt need for a personal faith to guide and sustain them as they look to the future, we show how a close friendship assists them in their search for such a faith.

Drawing on contemporary boys’ reflections on their intimate friendships, we explore how faithful friendships foster a deeper faith and trust in God, help a boy maintain his psychological and spiritual well-being in a time of uncertainty and self-doubt, and support his efforts to discover his true identity.

We also show how “best friendships” help boys navigate and subvert certain stifling masculine norms of church and culture, especially those that undermine their desire for physical as well as emotional intimacy, a desire that underwrites the profound truth of incarnational theologies.

Finally, we consider the boy’s need for a close friendship in helping him cope with disruptions that may be occurring in his life due to family relocations and separations, and with the clashes of personal values he experiences in encounters with other teenage boys.

This book is particularly aimed at pastors, teachers, vocational counselors, parents of teenage boys, and men who seek to reconnect with the teenage boy they left behind as they entered adulthood.

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