Their Name Is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World by Johann Christoph Arnold is a remarkable book. I wish this book had been in my possession before I had children…before I even thought about having children. I wish every educator in America would read this book…especially those involved in renovating education.
The author’s reverence and understanding rings true and clear page after page. The overall message of the book is about making the world a better place by investing in our children. By investing I mean giving our time and love to raise them up to be good people who will do the same for the next generation until the world is beautiful in mercy. His message, like most of good merit is simple: If we do not make children the victims of our selfishness and violence then they will not victimize others. How do you go about teaching them to be good? The answer is time, give them your time. Turn off the electronic toys, go outside and play. Teach them what is right and do not depend on schools and cartoons to do the instructing for you.
My only mild disagreement with the author is in the area of technology. I do not see the use of television, video games and computers in moderation as anything to worry about. Technology is here to stay and learning to use it responsibly is necessary and needs to be modeled by the adults in childrens’ lives.
My favorite chapter is “In Praise of Difficult Children”. He reminds us in this chapter that children need unstructured play time instead of drugs to make them conform. Children should be praised for their hard work and improvement and not their natural abilities or gifts. How many future Mozart’s, Tesla’s and Einstein’s are we losing in the education system to labels like Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, or even nerdy and geeky?
Arnold says, “Instead of hushing up the children who embarrass us, instead of clamping down on the ones who don’t fit in, instead of analyzing the troubled ones and drawing conclusions about their delinquent futures, we need to welcome them all as they are. By helping us to discover the limitations of “goodness” and the boredom of conformity, they can teach us the necessity of genuineness, the wisdom of humility, and the reality that, in parenting and education as with anything else, nothing good is won without a struggle.”
All I can say to that is “Amen.”
If you would like to enter to win a copy of this book please leave a comment below or on my Facebook page by Saturday October 25th.
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