Friday, October 31, 2014
Their Name is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World by Johann Christoph Arnold was a book I received from Handlebar Publishing in return for posting a review of the book. The book points out all of the obstacles that face today's children in our society: the amount of media available, their exposure to unfavorable things such as violence and sexuality, lack of family time, busyness, stress, academics, etc. The book assures us we are not resigned to allowing these things to cause our children a lifetime of resignation. We are able to help children today, to navigate the world and help it to be a better place. We are not resigned to a downtrodden society. One argument in the book is that we need to restore the values that make society a great place. It is not enough to say we need to help children, but we need to be sure our resources and time support that stance. In other words, we need to start from the top and change our priorities so children can be taken care of. This includes national spending, budgeting, prioritizing education, and reclaiming family values. We also need to model for our children balance in our lives. We cannot expect them to learn to balance their time and priorities if we are always busy, rushing from activity to activity and complaining about the stress in our lives. We need to model appropriate budgeting and finances. We need to demonstrate the importance of family by making time for others. We need to model healthiness by exercising, eating right, and living balanced lives. The book goes on to argue parents need to be there for their children, especially fathers. Parents need to take an active role in their children's lives, setting boundaries and helping to educate them on the important things in life. The book makes a good case for helping children so they can grow up and live healthy, balanced, lives. However, I would have liked to have seen more practical suggestions that could be implemented in families, rather than some of the generalized ideas from the author. The book does cause us to pause and truly think about what we are modeling for our kids and whether our actions are teaching them what we want them to learn. Reading it will help people focus on making changes to give kids a better chance at a better future.