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.
Arnold 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.
Every so often a book comes along that challenges readers to make real changes in their day to day lives. This is one of those books. Everyone talks about the assault on childhood and all the problems parents face in raising children in our technology infested culture. This book goes beyond identifying the problems to really challenge anyone who interacts with children to make real changes in their interactions with children.
I found it fascinating that Arnold is related to Froebel, who developed the concept of a kindergarten. He shared his philosophy that play is children’s work. It isn’t a new concept, but with schools decreasing recess time or in some school cutting it out entirely, it makes one wonder why.
It isn’t often that I read a book and think, everyone should read this book. However, this is one of those rare books. Everyone should read this book. Every parent, every educator, every youth pastor, everyone can get something out of this book. Some of the stories are heartbreaking and difficult to read. However, I will never forget the story Arnold shares of the boy who participated in the Roots of Empathy program and asked, “Do you think it is possible for someone to be a good father if no one has ever loved him?” How many young men in our society shy away from fatherhood and abandon responsibility for their families simply because they are afraid they are incapable of being good fathers because no one has ever loved them? It probably isn’t true in all cases, but it really makes one wonder.
This book is filled with facts, stories, and information that will make readers think about how they interact with children and what they can do to make childhood better. I know I will share it with fellow teachers at my school in hopes they can see past the disruptive children that “make it harder to get through the lesson plan” into the heart of the child.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It holds the power to change a life within the pages. I got a lot out of it and hope that others will too.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Handlebar Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Other books by Johann Christoph Arnold: