In response to Laura Perrins’s Thursday reading list – Royalty, Harvey and Hillary, making a man and conservatism’s end, Coniston wrote:
The American Franciscan, Richard Rohr, has written a number of articles and books about bringing up boys. He points out that in many traditional societies, teenage boys underwent a test to bring them to manhood – to initiate them – such as surviving in the wild for a period. This was (partly) to break their bond with their mother. Mothers have most to do with bringing up their children; to become men, boys have to break from this (girls learn more gradually to become women by copying/following their mother’s example). In the past, in the West, National Service provided some kind of initiation programme. In the absence of this, many boys/young men find a substitute in various types of gangs.