Friday, 10 December 2010

Ways to destroy your child's imagination

Justin Taylor, quoting a newly published book, lists ten ways to destroy your child's imagination (or that's what he says - I count only eight or nine!):
Esolen shows how imagination is snuffed out at practically every turn:
  • in the rearing of children almost exclusively indoors;
  • in the flattening of love to sex education, and sex education to prurience and hygiene;
  • in the loss of traditional childhood games;
  • in the refusal to allow children to organize themselves into teams;
  • in the effacing of the glorious differences between the sexes;
  • in the dismissal of the power of memory, which creates the worst of all possible worlds in school—drudgery without even the merit of imparting facts;
  • in the strict separation of the child’s world from the adult’s;
  • and in the denial of the transcendent, which places a low ceiling on the child’s developing spirit and mind.

 My immediate thoughts...
  • My children are used to playing outdoors every day. They spent last week without their usual big garden... and there have been many tears. (Of course, this gives an opportunity to try to encourage them to focus on the good things they had instead, but it was very interesting to me and mum to listen to them).
  • "Destroying your child's imagination" means destroying your child's creativity, which means giving great damage to their usefulness. At least, destroying their usefulness in not being drones to carry out the will of our society's present secularist thought-leaders, that is. I suppose that's what is meant by the quote in the original blog-post, "As author Anthony Esolen demonstrates in this elegantly written, often wickedly funny new book, almost everything we are doing to children now constricts their imaginations, usually to serve the ulterior motives of the constrictors."
  • I wonder what Esolen sees as a way towards a solution. Taylor doesn't say anything in this regard, neither does the blogger he got it from. Obviously, the present state-controlled education system is a huge factor in promoting the above list. To reform state education would be part of a solution, but that's a generational project - it's not going to happen in time for any of our children today. Being aware of the problem is only one necessary - but not sufficient - step towards actually mitigating its effects...
  • ... and so surely one of the necessary steps for parents today is to either use, or if it's not available from others, to themselves organise alternative, solidly Christian-based education. Is it not? What we pass on to the world ultimately is our children (both physical and spiritual). If this organising isn't worth it, what is?

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