Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is Imagination Important to Children?

Childhood isn't what it used to be. Gone are days spent exploring the woods, tinkering with gadgets, or making up games to play with the neighbor kids. Those days have been replaced with daycare or long school days, video games, soccer practice and almost constant adult supervision. A new book by Anthony Esolen argues that these trends are snuffing out our children's imagination.

Esolen says that learning science has been reduced to teaching kids a politically correct view of the world. The point is not to learn about the habitats of whales or how their unique design makes it possible for them to be underwater mammals, but to believe that "Whales Must Be Saved."

Spontaneous neighborhood games that taught ingenuity, social skills and a sense of fair play have been replaced by games predetermined by adults to ensure there is no real competition and no chance of to learn about victory and defeat. Fairy tales about heroes and villains have been replaced by so-called "relevant" stories that are full of politically correct platitudes. Other imagination-killing culprits include the reduction of love to sex, strictly separating the child's world from his parents' world, cutting heroes down to size, teaching children that practical skills like gardening and canning are drudgery, and imposing endless noisy distractions.

The author presents examples of the books, music, art and exploring nature that used to be part of children's experiences during their formative years, and he offers commonsense solutions. This book is essential reading for parents, grandparents, educators and anyone who wants to rescue children from the now tedious thing modern childhood has become. The name of this useful book is Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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