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Boys Will Be Boys: A Regis Response to the Phrase

The words we use in our daily life say so much about who we are and what we believe. This has never been more evident than when we turn on our televisions or fire up our computers to watch the daily news. The words of accusations and abuse can have disturbing results. Often, we're left with more questions than answers to the stories we hear. A phrase thrown out toward a political foe or a remark about an opposing player can create divisions that move us backwards instead of forward. So, what can help us not fall into the trap of thinking too lightly about the words we use?

Working around boys daily, I hear a lot of words, some bring joy to my heart like when I hear a 4-year-old boy exclaim in wonder how to shape the letter B. Or I might hear words of disappointment when a boy pleads to be included in a game of wall ball. Almost daily I hear sounds of laughter when a boy whispers a clever word that forms awkward middle school humor.

When I hear the phrase "boys will be boys" it reminds me how important it is to be careful with words. We all know this is a misused cliché to describe aggressive boy behavior. It's a knee jerk reaction I sometimes hear to explain away a poor choice a boy will make. Hearing the phrase can be dismissive and dangerous if we use it too often. If we never get beyond the phrase, we fall into the trap of labelling and settling for less. The phrase can also lead toward not taking responsibility for the behaviors we choose to use.

Another phrase that I've heard often comes from our own Regis community. It's the phrase, "that's what a Regis boy does." If you were brand new to Regis, you would be confused and wonder what the phrase means. But if you've been around a while and you hear the phrase, you know it has something to do with making choices that influence and build character.

If we truly live by our tag line of scholars and gentlemen in the Sacred Heart tradition, we know what the phrase, "what a Regis boy does" really means. The phrase is demonstrated every day when a boy shows kindness toward a friend or one of his younger Regis brothers. The phrase is put into practice when boys compete on the soccer field and shake each other's hand after a hard-fought match. It's demonstrated when a Regis boy goes to his teacher asking for help when he can't find a solution to a difficult assignment. The phrase is obvious when I observe a group of Regis boys swarming an area that needs a few extra hands to clean a room.

For the visitor to Regis this phrase most likely will be tested in the first few minutes of a stroll through the playground or a walk down a hallway. When you meet a Regis boy after he's left the school for high school and even college, the phrase proves its point. Deep down we know the phrase is not used as a cute marketing device to win over skeptical educators or administrators.

Let's make an effort in the future to choose our words and phrases carefully. The words we use over time will have a lasting effect on our attitudes and behaviors. When it's time to make difficult decisions, we want to be careful and thoughtful about the words we choose. We want our boys to grow into gentlemen and scholars who influence others in a positive way. I have great hope for our world of the future. My greatest hope lies in the phrase, "that's just what a Regis boy does."