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Their name is today: reclaiming childhood in a hostile world

summer 2015

From triple helix - summer 2015 - Their name is today: reclaiming childhood in a hostile world [p21]

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Johann Christoph Arnold
Plough, 2014, £9.24, Pb 189pp, ISBN 9780874866308
Reviewed by Sarah Germain, a former hospital doctor and former CMF Junior Doctors' Committee chairman

In a world where many pressures seek to deny children a happy and healthy childhood, Arnold aims to write a 'hopeful book about childhood'. He challenges parents and teachers to transform the way society is treating children. He starts by explaining why the world needs children, and challenges our Western society to value them as many other societies do. He then goes on to look at areas where children face pressure and danger.

Arnold's style is warm, yet challenging, drawing on the experience of many parents and educators, with thought provoking examples. He warns against rigid testing in schools at an early age; pushing children to succeed and achieve; the many dangers of technology and materialism; and prescribing drugs for 'normal childhood traits'. He goes on to discuss the positive ways we can influence children to be 'what we want the world to be like'.

As a parent, I was struck by many of his suggestions, including ensuring our words and actions are in line with our ideals, valuing time and attention over material things, and encouraging perseverance and pride in achievement. It is a shame more of a Christian worldview wasn't included, apart from the chapter on 'discovering reverence'. His theology of the 'purity and innocence' of children is also problematic. This aside, it is an easy, yet thought-provoking read for any parents, teachers or carers of children.



Article written by Sarah Germain

More from triple helix: summer 2015

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  • Plans for ‘seven-day’ NHS - where will the money come from?
  • Assisted suicide bills - one down, one to go
  • Fears grow over HPV vaccine - how safe is it?
  • DNA editing - a case still to be made
  • After the sexual revolution
  • Improving healthcare in South Sudan
  • Prayer, personality and temperament
  • Nepal walking through pain and hardship together
  • Problem solving in the NHS
  • The fellowship of suffering
  • Alcohol's hidden iceberg
  • 2.00005-parent embryos
  • Their name is today: reclaiming childhood in a hostile world
  • Prayer: Experiencing awe and intimacy with God
  • Growing up to be a child
  • The Bloomsbury guide to pastoral care
  • Eutychus
  • Message received and understood
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