Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of your Child - by Anthony Esolen

We’re extinguishing the minds (and souls) of our children
Play dates, “helicopter parenting,” No Child Left Behind, video games, political correctness: these and other insidious trends in child rearing and education are now the hallmarks of childhood. 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.

Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child takes square aim at these accelerating trends, while offering parents—and children—hopeful alternatives. 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.
Much like The Wonder of Boys and The Wonder of Girls, and The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Daring Book for Girls, Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child confronts contemporary trends in parenting and schooling by reclaiming lost traditions. This practical, insightful book is essential reading for any parent who cares about the paltry thing that childhood has become.

About the Author

Anthony Esolen is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization and Ironies of Faith, and the translator and editor of the celebrated three-volume Modern Library edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy. He is a professor of English at Providence College and a senior editor of Touchstone magazine. Esolen lives in Rhode Island.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Be prepared: Woldingham scouts do adult comedy

Yes, I also did a double take when I saw the poster.

The Scouts' motto is "be prepared"; I was certainly not prepared for smut propagated in the name of an organisation which I had always believed stands for virtue.

I first saw this event advertised last year, and thought I'd ignore it: perhaps somebody with strange ideas and too much power on the committee (or however they organise these things) carried the day, and it would be a one-off. But seeing that it seems to be an annual event, I could not let it pass without comment.

Baden Powell wrote in Scouting for Boys:

The Scout Motto is: BE PREPARED which means you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your DUTY.

    * Be Prepared in Mind by having disciplined yourself to be obedient to every order, and also by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.

    * Be Prepared in Body by making yourself strong and active and able to do the right thing at the right moment, and do it.

If adults are supposed to lead by example, and to lead chiefly in virtuous living, how is their organising and attending an "adult comedy night" supposed to help scouts? The only conclusion to be drawn is that somebody thinks the financial gain from selling tickets to this event trumps the core purpose of the movement.

Well, here's one parent - a great supporter of scouting - who won't be sending his son to Woldingham scouts, thanks to this brilliant bit of fund-raising. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot (I hope they were prepared with armoured boots or else lots of first aid dressings)!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kenyan Popemobiles?

Fr Tim Finigan's tongue-in-cheek proposal reminded me of the religious art and inscriptions often used to decorate matatus (minibus taxis) in my home from home Kenya.

Unlike Fr Tim, I was driving at the time I took the pictures, but then there is a lot more leeway in how road rules are interpreted in Africa. :-)

More leeway in road rules, but on the other hand there would be so little leeway for the irreligious, perverted and irreverent monstrosities commonplace in our "developed" nation that proselytisers for paedophilia (while hogging the media calling the kettle black) and the modernistic kitsch brigade would be laughed out of court or worse (justice is swift, brutal and spontaneous for those who viciously corrupt children or families).

That is not to say that Africa lacks its own religious kitsch, in abudance, and evident in these pictures, but this art at least has the essentials: it is reverent, it has faith, and it is not agitprop. That is more than can be said for much of what is being offered as fare for the papal "pilgrims".

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Undemocratic and biased representation of youth at the UN: you can do something about it!

The UN World Youth Conference has been hijacked by pornographers, radicals and abortionists: the statement now up for approval is not representative of the majority of young people, but imposed by a radical minority using undemocratic tactics. If you care about this and want to make a difference, you can sign the petition here, in support of a statement more truly representative of the world's youth.

Click here to sign the C-Fam petition by the world's young people to redress the unfair and biased representation at the UN and prevent the phony statement becoming part of quasi-legal guidelines for governments.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Lira - Ixesha

After the flood of R&B divas and their crass aggressive posturing, it's refreshing to find a video of African womanhood with haunting beauty and understatement. Here's Lira, recently famous for her performance of Pata Pata at the recent World Cup opening, in a different mode.

Classroom scene: religion in the modern world

A cringingly familiar classroom situation, hilariously executed: Religion in the modern word

Blair and the causes he supports or does not support

Asked whether Blair, who became a Roman Catholic after he was forced out of 10 Downing Street, had contributed to the costs of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain, his spokesman replied, tersely: "No."

He and his wife Cherie Booth do, however, actively support LGBT causes, including ones which are radically and aggressively against the Catholic church and its moral teachings.

Well, Tony, for all your spin doctoring, ultimately whats in the heart reaches the heart; I think it would be safe to drop the "Roman" from the title "Roman Catholic" and replace it with "Cafeteria" in your case.