Monday, November 10, 2014

Their Name Is Today

Last month, my 13 year old asked to go trick or treating with some friends in the neighborhood. They wanted to leave from school and go to a kids house and leave from there. I have never met these kids or their parents so I had cause to be concerned. Truth be told when I was her age, in the same neighborhood, I had a group of girls meet at my house to get ready and roam the neighborhood on. Halloween, but today is so very different.

I ended up not allowing her to go and she had friend come with us. They did go out on their own, but just on the few streets near our house and we were nearby. Call me protective but the dangers of things such as sex trafficking, sex offenders and reckless/distracted drivers just scare me. Halloween is a night that has unseen dangers if not careful. 

It's sad that so much has changed since I was a child. In the book Their Name Is Today, Johann Christoph Arnold talks about the need to reclaim childhood in a hostile world and I agree much has been lost. But, he claims that parents and teachers can turn the tide by giving children the time and space they need to grow.
"I am getting older; my life is coming to an end, but I still have a great urge to use my remaining strength to help anyone within reach, especially children. Working in schools for forty years, counseling many struggling families, as well as veterans and prisoners, I have seen much human need and tragedy. So often, the roots of this suffering began in childhood."
At the root of it is a need for cultural change in the way society views and treats children. We have
become a society that:

  • pushes children to the edge of our busy schedules
  • is always striving for overachievement
  • does not allow enough time for play
  • relies too much on screen time
  • focuses on material rewards over true signs of affection
  • is slack and inconsistent with discipline
Arnold writes this guide book for parents and teachers to offer insights into how to raise and influence a new generation of children to be more compassionate, considerate, courageous, bold, independent, secure and thoughtful. His perspective stems from the premise that children are to be cherished and every child has a right to joy and wonder.

"For whatever else may define childhood, one thing is constant: it is the gathering place of life's first and most indelible memories- the unalterable frame for all the experiences that accompany us through life. And this in the end, the task of bringing up children is not only a question of effective parenting, and even less one of educational insights, theories or ideals. It is, first and foremost, a matter of the love we give them, which has the power to awaken more of the same, even years down the road."

If you struggle to keep up and wonder if your priorities are right or if you are an educator wondering if you are really making a difference, grab a copy of Their Name is Today - Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World.