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The Bedside Table

July 7, 2010
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Since a lot of you occasionally ask, a few of you sometimes ask and one of you always asks, I am going to start periodically posting what I am reading on here.  It might possibly be of interest to you or you might finally quit clicking on that little link every time my posts pop up on your Facebook update page. 🙂

I try to keep at least one fiction and one non-fiction going at a time.  Right now, I am a little unbalanced.  I have two fiction and one non-fiction going on.  I also have an “idea” book of 500 fun educational things to do with your kids (think make fractions pizzas) that I am reading.  But that doesn’t count.

The fiction have captured my attention less than the non-fiction – although both are very good (The little that I have read – it’s hard to read them when I want to read the other one all the time.).  So I will talk about them first.

Anne Rice’s Christ The Lord: Out of Egypt: So in case you didn’t hear, Anne Rice left the Mayfair Witches and Lestat behind and has found her faith.  She is now writing stories inspired by that faith.  This is the first one.  It tells a story of what could have been Jesus’ childhood.  Jesus is still seven in the part I am reading.  Not sure if he will age or not.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett:  Sometimes, when a book is told from multiple people’s view points, I get lost.  Not because I am that scattered but because the authors don’t have enough different voices to their writing.  This story is told from the view point of three women in Mississippi, 1962 – one white, two African American, the “hired help”.  I can hear Skeeter’s drawl just as clearly as I can hear Minnie’s sass and Aibileen’s intelligence.  Skeeter  is looking for her maid who has just up and disappeared and she is going to enlist the help of the other two ladies.  But, I haven’t gotten that far in that one either.

The non-fiction one is the one that has me sitting up just a bit longer than Keith at night.  The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon by David Elkind, Ph.D. is fascinating.  This book came out originally in 1981.  It was revised in 1998 and 2001.  This guys basically says that we, as a society, have made our children grow up too fast.  Now I already knew this but to hear the examples and research and such behind it is fascinating.  So I am going to talk about it. 🙂

The early academic pressure children are under today is the first thing he talks about.  Kindergarteners have homework today.  Kindergarteners “fail” their grade.  Then you can look at the way children dress. Not that long ago, prepubescent boys wore knickers until they started shaving. Did you know that? And when did pre-teens start wearing makeup?  What about those little model girls?  When kids dress like kids, it’s a signal to people to treat them different – like the kids they are. And when kids dress like adults, they are more likely to act like adults.  Do we really want  that?  Another last evidence of pressure I will leave you with that I think is pertinent to us: the change in summer camps.  Odd one, eh?  Have you noticed that more and more summer camps focus on sports camps instead of swimming and camping and such? He says this one “reflects the new attitude that the years of childhood are not to be frittered away by engaging in activities merely for fun.” I don’t know how I feel about that one because I know a lot of kids who do sports for fun.

Couple of little points that I found interesting:

  • Aviation officials estimate 500,000 kids fly by themselves each year
  • Lawyers are increasingly encouraging kids to sue their parents
  • “The media portrays young people as precocious and present them in more or less explicit sexual or manipulative situations.”- American Beauty for example (an older example) portrays a Lolita seducing her friend’s father.
  • Media also promotes the above mentioned wearing of the adult clothes (that I hate by the way)

He breaks the book down in the following way:

Part I  Our Hurried Children

  1. Our Hurried Children
  2. The Dynamics of Hurrying: Parents
  3. The Dynamics of Hurrying: Schools
  4. The Dynamics of Hurrying: The Media
  5. The Dynamics of Hurrying: Lapware, Brain Research and the Internet

Part II Hurried Children: Stressed Children

  1. Growing Up Slowly
  2. Learning to Be Social
  3. Hurried Children: Stressed Children
  4. How Children React to Stress

10.  Helping Hurried Children

I think it’s going to end up being a fantabulous book. I’ll let you know.

Off to read some more of it…

Good night.

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