(I received this book from FlyByPromotions and was asked to listen to it and give my opinion. All opinions are my own. Full disclaimer below)
I received the “Their Name Is Today” book by Johann Christoph Arnold from Laura Beth with FlyByPromotions and was asked to read it and give my review on it by way of blog post.
I began reading, thinking that it would be about children overseas and the stuff that you usually see about feeding a child, etc. – oh, it was so much more than that. It talks about the difference in just the past generation and how kids are living and being raised. My husband and I were just talking to our son the other day about homework – he’s in 8th grade – and how the stuff he is doing now, we didn’t do until high school!! No wonder some of the questions he asks, I give him that “weird eye Mom” look!! ha/ha A friend even told my husband that their son – who is in 1st grade – had a report that they had to write, now that’s crazy!
On page 16, it says “Friedrich Froebel, who created the concept of the kindergarten, was a nineteenth-century German educator whose greatest gift was his ability to view life through a child’s eyes…When he coined the name “kindergarten,” he meant it literally – “a garden of children” – where each child is nurtured with the same love and care given to a seedling. He knew that humans are essentially creative and compassionate beings, and that education must involve the development of those traits.” Wow – don’t you wish that more schools would bow down to those words? The crazy “common core” educational nonsense of today is a joke, in my opinion and hurting children to not be able to be creative and compassionate. Let’s change how this system works while we still can! Like it says on page 26, Plato said “What is honored in a country is cultivated there.” If we honor the wrong things, than you sadly know what is going to happen.
“Something is wrong with a culture when it informs a mother that her children’s success rests on her ability to push them, or when it tells a father that good grades are the only measurement that matters.”
One of the biggest problems, I think, in today’s culture is electronics. Now, granted, they do help and do allow us to stay connected to some that we might not be able to otherwise, but like it quotes Rhonda Gillespie on page 48: “The accessibility of screen devices has caused a significant decline in children’s resilience, self-determination, desire for hard work and sense of pride in achievement. And socialization among children is becoming extinct.” Remember the days when you were told to leave the house and go play and come back when the streetlights were on? …that was kind of hard for me, because we didn’t have streetlights, but I knew what my Mom meant!! 🙂 We had the desire to go out and play, get dirty and just have fun. That doesn’t happen much today. We have to tell our son to not play video games or his computer and to go out and play, or he’ll be in trouble. That’s a pretty sad thing. I never really knew why it meant so much for us to command them to do that. Then on page 51, a quote from an MIT professor really brought it to light for me: ” Used too soon, does the two-dimensional screen of a computer actually interfere with a young child’s complex learning systems of relationships and sensory exploration?…How curious will children be…in seeking answers to their questions, if, from a young age, they learn to Google first, and ask questions later (or not at all)?” Isn’t that the truth? We told our son just the other day when he had questions on a Social Studies report to look it up in the encyclopedia…he said he already looked it up online and there was nothing else. AAAHHHH!!
Us, as a community, and parents need to make some changes. Like it says on page 161: “Like every deed of love, even the smallest, most negligible act will never be wasted. Small as it might be on it’s own, together with others it may have power to change the world.” Think back on your childhood, I pray that you had a great one. We usually don’t remember much of all of the stuff we learned in school, etc., but the moments that we spent with friends and family are some that stick with us forever. I pray daily that I’m doing the best job I can…I pray that DJ will look back one day and have smiles over his childhood and be able to bless his family with the positive things he learned and change the negative things to be better. 🙂
I definitely recommend this book to parents, parents-to-be, teachers and anyone who deals with childhood in their daily life, and that’s just about anyone! To end, I loved the poem on page 147 by Kahlil Gibran, it says:
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archers’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
About the Book:
There’s hope for childhood. Despite a perfect storm of hostile forces that are robbing children of a healthy childhood, courageous parents and teachers who know what’s best for children are turning the tide.
Johann Christoph Arnold, whose books on education, parenting, and relationships have helped more than a million readers through life’s challenges, draws on the stories and voices of parents and educators on the ground, and a wealth of personal experience. He surveys the drastic changes in the lives of children, but also the groundswell of grassroots advocacy and action that he believes will lead to the triumph of common sense and time-tested wisdom.
“Their Name Is Today“ takes on technology, standardized testing, overstimulation, academic pressure, marketing to children, over-diagnosis and much more, calling on everyone who loves children to combat these threats to childhood and find creative ways to help children flourish. Every parent, teacher, and childcare provider has the power to make a difference, by giving children time to play, access to nature, and personal attention, and most of all, by defending their right to remain children.
Will 2014 be remembered as the year when the virtues of the child-free lifestyle were extolled on the nation’s front pages? When Common Core scuttled the
last vestiges of individuality and creative teaching? When children spent more time in virtual worlds than with their parents?
Not if popular author Johann Christoph Arnold has any say in the matter. Despite a perfect storm of hostile forces that threaten to deny children a healthy,
happy childhood, courageous parents and teachers can turn the tide, says Arnold, whose books have helped more than a million readers through the challenges of education and family life.
In Their Name Is Today, he reviews sweeping changes in the way our society treats children. But he also highlights a groundswell of grassroots activism by dedicated parents and educators who are finding creative ways to give children the time and space they need to grow.
As in his previous books, Arnold blends wisdom from the world’s great educators and philosophers with stories of ordinary people. “People love stories,” he says. “My hope is that they find themselves in my books and say, ‘That could be me.'” Arnold cuts through the noise of conflicting ideologies, taking us to the heart of education and parenting by defending every child’s right to the joy and wonder of childhood.
Paperback: 189 pages
Publisher: Plough Publishing House (September 22, 2014)
Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
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About The Author
A lifelong peacemaker, Johann Christoph Arnold embodies Gandhi’s famed dictum, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Born in 1940 to war resisters driven out of Nazi Germany, his parents fled Europe when he was a baby and settled in Paraguay. His childhood of poverty gave him a special sensitivity for the down-trodden. At fourteen, Arnold moved to New York, where he has lived ever since. In the 1960s, his interest in the Civil Rights Movement led him to go South, where he met and marched with Martin Luther King Jr. The ensuing friendship was to impact him for life.
Today, Christoph and his wife Verena are the parents of eight children and have forty one grandchildren; he is also a popular speaker on behalf of children. A best-selling author, Arnold’s sound advice has helped his books sell over 350,000 copies. An outspoken social critic, he has addressed gatherings from Sydney to London to Berlin, and visited hotspots around the globe. Locally, his work has taken him into hospitals, nursing homes, juvenile detention centers and prisons. In 2007 he was appointed chaplain of the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department.
About The Publisher
Plough Publishing House, founded in 1920, is an independent publisher of books on faith, society, and the spiritual life. We’re based in Walden, New York with branches in the United Kingdom and Australia.
We also publish Plough Quarterly, a bold new magazine of stories, ideas, and culture to inspire faith and action. In addition, we serve up fresh views and insights daily online. (Sign up for weekly updates.)
Because we believe in quality over quantity, we’re able to lavish attention on every project. We devote rigorous attention to editing and design, and we stand behind each of our titles with strong and innovative promotion.
Plough has always aspired to be more than just another publisher – our goal is to help build a worldwide network of writers, readers and doers who, while belonging to diverse traditions, share a common conviction: that faith has the power to transform every aspect of life.
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“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this book for my review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
Wow!! My kiddo is the same…. that dang iPod! ! Great post.
I wish kids weren’t so expecting. Most expect everything to just be handed to them because they want it. I’m glad mine aren’t like that – it must be because they love to play outside!
It is amazing how much of difference there is between the last few generations. And it is only going to keep changing in a dramatic way. thank you so much for sharing your posts on Come Along Ponds!