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Bulldozing Misery into Children's Lives?


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I came across this article in my travels this morning. It seems like a good topic for discussion.

 

Random Questions, Off the Cuff: If you separate your child from this world, do you render them socially unaware? Are the teen years formative or are they merely the next step in the journey? Reading is a private experience. Can a group of teens be exposed to this world one by one as individuals and remain unaffected? Do they have the skills to ferret out their questions? Do they have the strength/confidence to judge? What kinds of truths will be embraced unconsciously? What social/emotional/relational barriers will be created through these kinds of private experiences? Some? Many? None? Can barriers really be removed through such private exposure or are they merely fortified?

 

Does reading create the life of the mind or does it only expose the life of the mind?

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303657404576357622592697038.html

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

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fwiw: My older kids can't stand B & N. Full of carp in the young adult section.

 

Random Questions, Off the Cuff: If you separate your child from this world, do you render them socially unaware?

I think we too narrowly define "social." As I've said a million times, my kids ARE socialized- they are raised in a social context. If they were raised by wolves they would be socialized, because they would have been raised in a social unit. So, the question is not IF they are socialized but HOW they are socialized.

My dh (psych) has had clients as young as 12 who have suicidal ideation due to teasing, bullying, peer pressure, how dark the world is. Are they better off than my kids who live outside the "normal" loop, roam on 10 acres, watch no T.V. and can talk passionately and with intelligence on a myriad of topics? In my economy, no.

 

Are the teen years formative or are they merely the next step in the journey?

Yes, I think the teen years are formative. The person is developing from a child to a man or woman. BUT, I don't think the teen years are necessarily productive, given how they are "normally" defined. From my/our observations they have become a time of entitlement and even a time of living in a fantasy world- they owe nobody nothing and everything is provided for them- socialism at it's finest, baby; even Tiger Mom and other high achieving families- though I loved her intentionality- the kids lives were totally about success and performance. I think if we can direct our kids towards learning values and principals; i.e. hard work, service, faith, along with performance and success, their satisfaction with and quality of life will be much higher, on many levels.

 

Reading is a private experience. Can a group of teens be exposed to this world one by one as individuals and remain unaffected?

Not sure what this question means. But I dobelieve that reading is an interaction with the reader and the author; so in some sense, the reader is interacting with at least one other person, along with the characters;). If there is discussion/analysis along with that, the circle broadens.

 

Do they have the skills to ferret out their questions?

Maybe, maybe not. I didn't really "learn" very many (any?)analytical skills in high school but I read voraciously. Did I "ferret" out everything I could have learned. I doubt it. But I did intuitively learn an enormous amount. Reading is instructive. That's why I have no problem putting limits on what my kids read. They read about rape, dismemberment, evil- they've now been informed. (Phillipeans 4:8 is our standard). We don't "shelter" them from everything- we read the Bible outloud, that's instructive! along with many other books that look at many, many issues, from many different pov's. But we also try to put reading/ input within a context of moral law and principal. When it's not, it's simply titilation.

I remember distinctly reading the John Jakes series in high school, the theme being ("theme", I couldn't have told you what that meant back then); "take a stand, make a mark." It has been a definitive for me throughout my life.

 

Do they have the strength/confidence to judge?

Maybe, maybe not.

 

What kinds of truths will be embraced unconsciously?

It depends on the person.

What social/emotional/relational barriers will be created through these kinds of private experiences? Some? Many? None?

The written word is a powerful thing. (Great theological discussion could be embedded here!) That's why despots burn books.

 

Can barriers really be removed through such private exposure or are they merely fortified?

Both.

 

Does reading create the life of the mind or does it only expose the life of the mind?

Exposure and change go together. I've had to read some things over and over, be exposed to them a lot of times, before I change. Some of my neural pathways are definitly pretty rigid. BUT, some of my pathways are flex and supple and I "get" certain other things right away, just like everybody else.

I believe the mind is a muscle and it needs trained, developed and cared for.

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Reading is a private experience. Can a group of teens be exposed to this world one by one as individuals and remain unaffected?

Do they have the skills to ferret out their questions?

 

My thoughts on this: My teens don't have the confidence to STAND when confronted - not yet. I play "devil's advocate" all the time with them. I have personally pushed them to the edge in discussions. (OK. I guess they stand, but it's painful to watch. They stand, but I can see their lack of confidence....)

 

Yes, I have reduced them to tears.

 

They knew in their hearts that they were right, but they did not have the intellectual weapons to fight my arguments. I watched them struggle. And I watched them crumble. Their intellect caved to the pressure of my argument. I can proudly say that they fought me with their conviction: they knew that they were morally correct in their hearts and they told me so. They told me that they would follow their convictions even though I held the intellectual (logical?) high ground. (I suspect they too pride themselves on being "smart," so it was hard for them to let that go.....) But in the end, they passed the test in my book. They let it go, and they sided in with the "right." I was proud of them.

 

That's what I'm talking about. The private conversation. The personal struggle that occurs in the heart and mind of the sensitive reader. The ability to judge art as garbage without judging the victims of horrific crimes as garbage. Some art is not worth looking at. All people are worth being cared for. Can your kids separate their emotions from their convictions? Their influences from the pressure-producers? Can they smell their own fear? Tough stuff! Challenging!

 

My kids are compassionate people. I think these kinds of books capitalize on that compassion. Can the child declare with absolute disgust, "This is the biggest load of cr*p that I have seen in a long time." Or are they likely to feel depressed/guilty/sad that their lives are pleasant rather than horrifying? Do they feel helpless in the face of such evil?

 

How is that guilt/desire-to-be-relevant-and-informed twisted to the author's advantage?

 

After all, most authors/publishing companies are really just trying to sell books. Yes?

Edited by Janice in NJ
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Reading is a private experience. Can a group of teens be exposed to this world one by one as individuals and remain unaffected?

 

Can your kids separate their emotions from their convictions? Their influences from the pressure-producers? Can they smell their own fear? Tough stuff! Challenging!

 

My kids are compassionate people. I think these kinds of books capitalize on that compassion. Can the child declare with absolute distain, "This is the biggest load of cr*p that I have seen in a long time." Or are they likely to feel depressed/guilty/sad that their lives are pleasant rather than horrifying? Do they feel helpless in the face of such evil?

 

How is that guilt/desire-to-be-relevant-and-informed twisted to the author's advantage?

 

After all, most authors/publishing companies are really just trying to sell books. Yes?

 

O.k. gotit. yes. I totally agree with you! I was the child who read like crazy and had pitiful ability to distinguish carp/relevant/guilt/twisted. A lot of what we see in the library, even, is so dumbed down.

 

I think most publishers are trying to sell books. Most authors are trying to tell their story. Yes?

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Lisa,

 

BTW, LOVED what you wrote above. (I don't mean to push the conversation in one particular direction or give the impression that I tossed the questions out there for any other reason than to have a lively discussion. I don't even have a clue if my questions are relevant. :001_smile: Just tossing in my thoughts.)

 

It looks like you have thought a lot about into this issue.

 

Peace,

Janice

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I'm not sure what you are asking? Children/young adults have always been able to access unsuitable material, and what is unsuitable changes from time to time. What is cruel in one time and place is considered ordinary in another time and place. It is important, as always, to teach children to filter for themselves and to think about whether what they are eating or watching or reading or participating in is healthy or not. Since when were all books safe? There have always been things that are interesting or fun to read but not a good idea to put into one's head forever. I deeply resent the fact that I was made to put The Pit and the Pendulum there when I was in 8th grade. I don't care if it is a classic or if it is well-written. I can't say that I am any more horrified that today's literature exists. Are you asking if we think it should be marketed to teens? Well, I'm not to thrilled by that, but neither am I thrilled that the local drug dealer targets teens. Teens need to learn to say no and to think for themselves. But hasn't that always been true? Ãf you grew up in a port, you didn't exactly want your children buying into the idea that it would be romantic to run away to sea, either, despite it being easy to do. I don't mean to sound callus (I can't believe the number of words that I've never written before and have no idea how to spell). I was horrified to find my in-laws supporting my pre-teen niece's obsession with a series that began with graphic canabolism. But I am always suspicious of the articles that argue that these are much more dire times than any other. Except the ones that say things are more dire because of the level of technology today. I agree that technology makes it more important than ever to teach one's children values and self-control, but isn't that obvious? I'm missing the point, somehow...

 

Nan

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This is not unique to Barnes & Noble - it's no different in libraries. IMO everything we read, everything we see and everything we experience has an impact on us. I do not see any redeeming value in the junk "literature" which is marketed to teens.

 

I know I should probably just let this go, but why on earth would you want to reduce your children to tears? As much impact as words in a book have on our children, how much more so the interactions they have with us. Just my thoughts which I probably should have kept to myself. :tongue_smilie:

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I'm not sure what you are asking? Children/young adults have always been able to access unsuitable material, and what is unsuitable changes from time to time. What is cruel in one time and place is considered ordinary in another time and place. It is important, as always, to teach children to filter for themselves and to think about whether what they are eating or watching or reading or participating in is healthy or not. Since when were all books safe? There have always been things that are interesting or fun to read but not a good idea to put into one's head forever. I deeply resent the fact that I was made to put The Pit and the Pendulum there when I was in 8th grade. I don't care if it is a classic or if it is well-written. I can't say that I am any more horrified that today's literature exists. Are you asking if we think it should be marketed to teens? Well, I'm not to thrilled by that, but neither am I thrilled that the local drug dealer targets teens. Teens need to learn to say no and to think for themselves. But hasn't that always been true? Ãf you grew up in a port, you didn't exactly want your children buying into the idea that it would be romantic to run away to sea, either, despite it being easy to do. I don't mean to sound callus (I can't believe the number of words that I've never written before and have no idea how to spell). I was horrified to find my in-laws supporting my pre-teen niece's obsession with a series that began with graphic canabolism. But I am always suspicious of the articles that argue that these are much more dire times than any other. Except the ones that say things are more dire because of the level of technology today. I agree that technology makes it more important than ever to teach one's children values and self-control, but isn't that obvious? I'm missing the point, somehow...

 

Nan

 

 

Nan I couldn't agree with you more about the Pit and the Pendulum. We were forced to watch the movie in 7th grade - as part of our "English" class. Part of the reason we homeschool.

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Sadly it was in one of the top rated school districts and was done for all 7th grade English classes. And this was back in the time when the students actually did their work because not doing it was unthinkable for most of us - so I don't think we presented as blasé. It sure was shocking, and memorable. I wish I could have spoken up back then. In hindsight, skipping it and serving detention would have been much better than sitting through it.

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Reducing kids to tears....

 

Proverbs 27:6 :001_smile:

 

I had the opportunity to sit in an ivy college classroom under the instruction of a self-proclaimed atheist. Many times I left his classroom with eyes welling up. He frustrated me, and unlike my sessions with my kids, his sessions weren't designed to be encouraging. We all knew that he didn't care about us. Respect in his classroom was a one-way street. He made it clear that he was going through the motions with us. This was a general ed class that all of us were required to take. The tone in the room was anything but encouraging.

 

Like my kids, I too had no means of defending my convictions. But I was alone with my thoughts. In my youth, it seemed that the only option was to question my convictions. I was young. I was alone. And I was very confused.

 

It affects you.

It has motivated me to raise my kids in a certain way. :001_smile:

 

My kids and I are very close. They've thanked me more than once for those tears. :001_smile:

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

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Yuck! So sorry you had to go through this. Yuck!

 

I think we agree here: teaching them to speak up is the goal. Sometimes the emperor isn't wearing any clothes; it just takes one person to point it out and then the flood of agreement comes from others. Hopefully we can raise those kids. :001_smile:

 

Peace,

Janice

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Is it so important to be able to put things into words? The big discovery of my 30's was that when I didn't "feel" like doing something, it was probably because I had a very good reason that just hadn't bubbled up into words yet so I could tell other people. A few days later, I would be able to lay out a nice cohesive argument in my favour. I learned to trust my feelings after this happened over and over again. Obviously it is nice to be able to put something into words, very convenient for explaining yourself or convincing other people, but isn't it important to teach our children that words aren't the only way, that looking at actions and expressions (thinking art and music) and even just plain feelings are also good ways of judging something? I would far rather my children acted on their feelings first and then figured out the reasons afterwards, especially when it comes to matters of faith or judging people (and by extension, books). That seems much safer. I have never understood why faith is considered valid only if it can be done so with words. LOL I guess I wouldn't exactly be welcome in a bible study group. I am only sort of tolerated here on the homeschooling board. Again, I'm not saying words aren't important or that it isn't nice to be able to present a nice logical argument in words. I just think it is important to teach our children that just because they are unable to put something into words doesn't mean that whatever it is isn't true.

 

And now I will go off an hide under a rock for awhile for having said something so un-neo-classical here.

Nan

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Nan I think that faith is very much that way. Words are sometimes so limiting and can't begin to express what we feel. I also dislike words sometimes as they're so definite and open to interpretation and being picked apart and losing all of their original intent. :tongue_smilie: Scoot over - I'm hiding under the rock too. :)

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Hi Nan,

 

You said, "I have never understood why faith is considered valid only if it can be done so with words."

 

:iagree:

 

Yes! And even among the non-faith-based conversations, much of our word-based/argument-based discussions still fail to agree on what is valid. :001_smile: Shoot, we can't even figure out who should be paying which taxes in this country. :001_smile:

 

My kids have to listen repeatedly as I retell the story of Descartes and "Cogito ergo sum." Words are not as flexible as lines. It's massively difficult to generate an iron-clad proof with words and ideas.

 

I suspect that's as it should be.

 

I keep trying to share that with these little people. I keep trying to unch my kids toward that place of peace. Life has mystery. That's what makes it wildly exciting. Embrace the mystery, and be human. Reject it, and be only a machine. :001_smile:

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

 

P.S. You gals don't belong under rocks! Isn't that the ONE thing we can agree on after this discussion? The wrong folks are the bold folks if you folks are under a rock! :001_smile:

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LOL - Maybe we should trade children. I seem to spend most of my time trying to persuade my children to be less exciting and to take life's mysteries a little less for granted. This is more or less why I keep repeating that my family is not and probably never will be academic-minded. Curious enough to hop on the internet to see what that prehistoric monster they caught while enjoying a nice peaceful morning icefishing instead of studying was, educated enough to think reading the Odyssey was fun and to appreciate its craftsmanship, but not academic enough to want to put any of that into words. Mostly what I want to talk about is how thick that ice was and whether it really was that thick everywhere on the lake or whether they walked over some thinner spots on the way to the thick spot and how much thinner that nice warm day they were enjoying was making the ice, making them hesitant to tell Mum about the mysterious fish in the first place. Is it any wonder that I think words spoil things?

 

Nan Underrock

 

ETA - Janice, I know it is a rabbit trail, but I would love to know how you avoid the above problem, you and everyone else.

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I have never understood why faith is considered valid only if it can be done so with words. LOL I guess I wouldn't exactly be welcome in a bible study group. I am only sort of tolerated here on the homeschooling board.

 

Dear Nan-please-come-back-out-from-Underrock,

 

About the bolded - NOT TRUE!!!! Don't hide! :D

 

 

Janice, I'm totally enjoying yet another great thread by you.

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I would far rather my children acted on their feelings first and then figured out the reasons afterwards, especially when it comes to matters of faith or judging people (and by extension, books). That seems much safer. I have never understood why faith is considered valid only if it can be done so with words. LOL I guess I wouldn't exactly be welcome in a bible study group. I am only sort of tolerated here on the homeschooling board. Again, I'm not saying words aren't important or that it isn't nice to be able to present a nice logical argument in words. I just think it is important to teach our children that just because they are unable to put something into words doesn't mean that whatever it is isn't true.

 

Nan,

 

I think you are being far too hard on yourself, here. I agree that being able to trust one's instincts and acting upon them are probably the most important because this will "save" you from a situation you might not want to be in. Being able to voice your concerns to others is, IMHO, a very important second. And I see what Janice is getting at in trying to get her dc into a position of comfort in being able to express their opinions. However, I think this ability to express one's opinions is a skill that some have more naturally than others.

 

I can completely understand what you've said because I tend to be one who is not "quick on the draw" and able to explain her opinions clearly so that others can easily understand. As the years have gone by, I've gotten a little better at speaking up, even if what I say doesn't always come across as I'd hoped. For me, it takes people awhile to understand my motivations because they have to study my actions. Part of it is a personality thing, I think, too.

 

And Nan, to say that you are "only tolerated" here is almost silly. Sorry, I had to say that. Who has the most posts tagged -- you, and it's because people really value your wisdom, so don't sell yourself short. And if I have a Bible study, you are welcome to come, any time.

 

Brenda

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ETA - Janice, I know it is a rabbit trail, but I would love to know how you avoid the above problem, you and everyone else.

 

Not Janice -- but, Nan, I don't think you avoid the problem you described. I don't think it's a problem anyway, it's called motherly concern.... and it seems to just be there because you are a mother, and it never goes away. From all the tales you've told, I can really "see" your sons and their zest for life, and that's fantastic. I know a few other people who are so full of energy and seem to really enjoy what they are doing at the moment. These folks are so worthwhile. They can be frustrating for us to deal with sometimes, but they do that important job of dragging the rest of us out from under that rock at times, and thank God they do!

 

But -- more solitary, introspective folks are important, too. We help keep those active, energetic people organized and help them deal with the necessary parts of life (like school) that they just tolerate. And that's OK. It's more than OK actually, it's just the way things are supposed to be.

 

So what can the more solitary, introspective type do? Hangout sometimes with others of a similar bent. That's why I like this board. The other thing, for me at least, is to rest in the Lord. Try to turn over all my cares to Him -- and find things to do where your actions will speak to others.

 

Brenda

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I refer to a Nan post almost daily. I have several printed off and stashed in my planner for this year. One of the first posts that resonated with me was when you mentioned having to remind your dc where the holes on the paper go, holes on the left, margin at the top. I really had been stressed about my son's abilities if he couldn't even keep the paper straight. Your words have been a comfort many times since.

 

There's a few Janice's in there as well. :D

 

I remember watching Pit and the Pendulum in junior high, I don't know if it was in school or at home. I do know we watched Tales from The Crypt in school, like as a school assembly. Also a top rated school. I was a pretty dark kid already, so it fit.

 

My ds is a slow reader. By the time we get through required readings and his interests, they'll be no time for some of the "popular" stuff.

 

I'd like to see some originality in YA fiction. Last time I looked every cover looked like a Twilight rip off. So far he's been happy to stay in younger fiction, the 10-14 range. The series we've found are a tad more hopeful, with the wonder of the world still attached.

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I'm not sure what you are asking? Children/young adults have always been able to access unsuitable material, and what is unsuitable changes from time to time. What is cruel in one time and place is considered ordinary in another time and place. It is important, as always, to teach children to filter for themselves and to think about whether what they are eating or watching or reading or participating in is healthy or not. Since when were all books safe? There have always been things that are interesting or fun to read but not a good idea to put into one's head forever. I deeply resent the fact that I was made to put The Pit and the Pendulum there when I was in 8th grade. I don't care if it is a classic or if it is well-written. I can't say that I am any more horrified that today's literature exists. Are you asking if we think it should be marketed to teens? Well, I'm not to thrilled by that, but neither am I thrilled that the local drug dealer targets teens. Teens need to learn to say no and to think for themselves. But hasn't that always been true? Ãf you grew up in a port, you didn't exactly want your children buying into the idea that it would be romantic to run away to sea, either, despite it being easy to do. I don't mean to sound callus (I can't believe the number of words that I've never written before and have no idea how to spell). I was horrified to find my in-laws supporting my pre-teen niece's obsession with a series that began with graphic canabolism. But I am always suspicious of the articles that argue that these are much more dire times than any other. Except the ones that say things are more dire because of the level of technology today. I agree that technology makes it more important than ever to teach one's children values and self-control, but isn't that obvious? I'm missing the point, somehow...

 

Nan

 

It has always bugged me when people try to claim that we are now busier, more saturated with information, more under pressure or in more dire straits than in the past.

 

Please. The 15th and 16th century experience the discovery of two entire continents that Europeans didn't realize were there, filled with animals and plants that forever changed our scientific understandings and even foodways (those potatoes that Germans and Irish love - imported from the Americas, polenta and tomato sauce in Italy - imported from the Americas). Oh, and those continents were filled with people, with drastically different cultures.

 

The American depression saw whole populations on the move from the midwest to the west coast. World War I and World War II saw soldiers mobilized to fight overseas and women going to work to fill the vacuum. Around 4,500 Americans have been killed in Iraq, which is still under the number of killed and missing at Antietam - one battle in the Civil War. That number is about the size of the allied deaths in the Normandy Invasion.

 

At the same time, we have not been recently faced with outbreaks of polio that leave families in fear of contagion and life long debilitation. Most of us have not watched a child die to childhood diseases like measles, whooping cough or scarlet fever. We have not experienced a world wide flu epidemic that killed more than the war it followed and didn't restrict itself to combatants. :rant: (Sorry, you clearly found my On Button.)

 

Nor do I understand why we feel that our literature should focus on pain, despair and nihlism rather than on survival, empathy, fortitude, and triumph over adversity. If folks would read some of the classics that they jetisoned as indicative of western imperialsim, they might gain a little historical perspective that would help them see that adversity is not new and can be survived and overcome.

 

Here's a recent Victor Davis Hanson column on why we should still read (and specifically read books from the past).

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Brenda and Colleen - Don't worry. I'm not feeling unappreciated here. I know that it is exactly because we aren't the most academic of families that my posts are helpful to people. I like helping people and l like having the things I have so laboriously worked out benefit more than just my own children. I just sometimes feel that I am not supporting beautiful high educational goals many here are reaching for. (Keeping my children alive seems to be all the challenge I can handle. On good days, I add cheerful and good to the list. Many days, just alive at the end of the day is cause for major celebration.) I feel like I'm mostly coaching people to do something badly. Then other times, I feel like I'm helping people take the first step towards those goals and just because I'm not interested in going further doesn't mean that other people can't.

 

Brenda - Your description is perfect. (I always listen very carefully to your advice. I think maybe now I know why it works for me GRIN.) In real life, many people are baffled by me. I leave a wake of confusion behind me when I try to work in a group. Either that, or somehow my group manages to easily and successfully do whatever it was we were trying to do. Now if only I could predict that in advance GRIN.

 

You are right about different children having different personalities. Mine are willing to speak up. They can't always explain themselves well, but they are willing to try, if they think it will do any good. We spend most of our time trying to get them to empathize enough with a group of uncongenial people to take the trouble to speak up and help. My husband and I wonder how on earth we produced such children.

 

I don't particularly like under rocks. What I really want is a nice safe island where nobody can get annoyed with me and nobody can upset me by cutting down a grandfather of a tree or running over a squirrel and not crying.

 

Nan

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I have a bunch of Janice's posts. My all-time-favourite was the one about homeschooling while having to go to the bathroom. Practically speaking, that one was most helpful. It is utterly stupid not to take the time to do something so fundamental, but... Guess that is why airlines are constantly telling mothers to put their own oxygen masks on first.

 

Nan

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Reading classics can make teens aware of the world at large and its issues. Reading Dickens and the like can also make them aware that young people have always been naturally self-involved. Reading non-fictional and fictional adventure and exploration literature can inspire them to look beyond their front doorstep. Reading science fiction can inspire them to dream of the future. Reading the latest YA literature should be "just a phase", it can be a good jumping off spot to dig into more "worldly" topics...eg, what is good, what is evil, what does being a "citizen of the world" entail, what is "love".

What turns me off about a lot of the new YA stuff is the violence and sordidness. Life is beautiful but, maybe that doesn't sell books (or tv shows and video games, etc.).

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I just sometimes feel that I am not supporting beautiful high educational goals many here are reaching for.

 

OK, I understand now. But I just had to respond to that "sort of tolerated" bit - it's just not true. :D

 

I only have one young teen so far, but here are some tentative thoughts from me...

 

If you separate your child from this world, do you render them socially unaware?

 

I don't think so. My son becomes aware of things because of hearing about them from other kids, catching a headline in a newspaper or magazine, or catching a whiff of an issue from a book. Or he might ask me about an issue he has come across somewhere, and I'll carefully pick my way through an explanation. As for any of the rest of what is involved in those books in that article, I couldn't care less if my kids are not immersed in it - it's not making them "socially aware" - it's bombarding them with garbage.

 

Do they have the skills to ferret out their questions? Do they have the strength/confidence to judge?

 

Hmm...he might be too young still for me to answer this...in a few more years I think he will have the confidence to judge. Skills to ferret out questions? Not yet.

 

Does reading create the life of the mind or does it only expose the life of the mind?

 

I think it creates.

 

Can the child declare with absolute disgust, "This is the biggest load of cr*p that I have seen in a long time." Or are they likely to feel depressed/guilty/sad that their lives are pleasant rather than horrifying? Do they feel helpless in the face of such evil?

 

I am hoping that, with the thinking-training I am giving my kids, they will be able to easily discern the good from the evil. I think they are already miles and miles beyond where I was at their ages. I know I can be swayed by emotional manipulation in books, and I am learning how not to be. Or learning to step away from books that have that tug on me. Even many adult "self-help" books are written with the same intent - get you thinking you have a major problem with something, and here are 10 steps you can do to overcome it and if you don't overcome it there is something drastically wrong with you. Learning how to see the world in a different way, a world that God has His hand in and that He cares about. Not a world that is *only* filled with evil.

 

Reducing kids to tears....

 

Proverbs 27:6 :001_smile:

 

I had the opportunity to sit in an ivy college classroom under the instruction of a self-proclaimed atheist. Many times I left his classroom with eyes welling up. He frustrated me, and unlike my sessions with my kids, his sessions weren't designed to be encouraging. We all knew that he didn't care about us. Respect in his classroom was a one-way street. He made it clear that he was going through the motions with us. This was a general ed class that all of us were required to take. The tone in the room was anything but encouraging.

 

Like my kids, I too had no means of defending my convictions. But I was alone with my thoughts. In my youth, it seemed that the only option was to question my convictions. I was young. I was alone. And I was very confused.

 

It affects you.

It has motivated me to raise my kids in a certain way. :001_smile:

 

My kids and I are very close. They've thanked me more than once for those tears. :001_smile:

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

 

Very inspiring.

 

I wish I were more articulate like the rest of you. But I'm enjoying reading this thread.

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Janice - Seeing Colleen's answers have helped me to understand your original questions. Well, some of them anyway. I think that everything we are exposed to changes us, if it registers. Most of this is beyond our control but I think it is important to filter when we can, and if we are the sort of person who is going to be deeply affected, then I think we need to be especially careful. I am immobilized by some things (like horrendous news stories) so I try to avoid them so I can be useful instead of coming apart and needing taking care of. I grew up not watching television and am missing a large piece of common American culture. This is often a problem. My husband has the same problem. We have deliberately done the same thing to our own children. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages, for us. The biggest problem with not being part of popular culture is that it tends to make one intolerant of the stupider bits of it and by extension, any people who take part in it. (I can't think of a polite way to put that.) This is something that we fight constantly with the children. They will probably be more tolerant as adults. At least I hope so. It happened to us so we are assuming it will happen to them. I think it is better than having them modeling their adult fantasies on some of the horrendous shows out there. Definately a trade-off, though.

 

Nan

 

ETA - I do, however, think one is doing one's children a disservice if one doesn't give them enough of a culture, any culture or even several cultures, to give them some sort of cultural identity, even if it is a weak one. I wouldn't do that on purpose. I think it would be hard to build into the child a feeling of both of wanting to be a good neighbor and of wanting to contribute to the world and one's community without some sense of belonging to something bigger than one's individual family. And personally, I would rather not raise a child without giving him some tools to blend in, when he wishes, the ability to go-along-to-get-along when it is appropriate. I think this helps when it comes to making friends, not necessarily deep friends, but more casual friendships. Those are nice to have upon occasion. This is another one of those balances I keep talking about. I have played with that balance some, sending my children off to live other places for awhile year after year. There is a price. Among other things, it is hard to find time to teach them to drive and it is hard for them to have a paying job, and it is hard for them to keep friends. They want to contribute to the world but not necessarily to their insular neighborhood. They blend in with amazing ease but hesitate to put down roots.

 

Mostly I don't think about any of this. Mostly I just try to bang into their heads that they must be polite and respectful and unselfish no matter what. That is a lot harder than it sounds.

 

Nan

Edited by Nan in Mass
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