Rev. Thomas Harbold’s review of “Defending Boyhood: How Building Forts, Reading Stories, Playing Ball, and Praying to God Can Change the World” | Goodreads

43309920

When Anthony Esolen – among the most able defenders of Western civilization, and Western Christendom in particular, active today – chooses to discourse on a subject, the wise person reads or listens attentively…

Source: Rev. Thomas Harbold’s review of Defending Boyhood: How Building Forts, Reading Stories, Playing Ball, and Praying to God Can Change the World | Goodreads

When Anthony Esolen – among the most able defenders of Western civilization, and Western Christendom in particular, active today – chooses to discourse on a subject, the wise person reads or listens attentively, nor does he or she lack reward for having done so. Esolen writes with exuberance, penetrating insight, and equally-penetrating wit, and Defending Boyhood is no exception to that rule. I was alternately delighted, intrigued, inspired, and moved.

As a former boy myself, I resonate strongly with the former boy that shines through Esolen’s mature, erudite, and engaging writing, and frequently found myself nodding in emphatic agreement. His treatment of boyhood, and boys – what they value, how they view life, and the goals and ideals that are common to boys across time, geography, and culture – has the ring of truth, and stands as a much-needed antidote to the venomous miasma that much of modern culture seems bent on creating around such formerly straightforward concepts as manhood, masculinity, and boyhood…

Read my whole review here.

 

Advertisements

QOTD: the proper life for a child (and the rest of us, for that matter!)

Related image

“It is no accident that the Swiss have such beautiful children’s stories: they do not inhabit large towns. A metropolitan child doesn’t even know what it means to be a child. To be a child means to play in the fields, amidst grass and trees and birds and butterflies, under the endless canopy of a blue sky, in a great silence in which the crowing of the neighbor’s cock is an event, as is the Angelus bell or the creaking of a wheel. To be a child means to live with the seasons, the first snow and the first colt’s-foot, the cherry blossom and the cherry harvest, the scent of flowering crops and dry grass, the tickling of the stubble on one’s bare feet, the early lighting of the lamp. The other thing is a surrogate, shabby, cramped, musty, an adult’s life in miniature.”

— Joseph Hofmiller (1872-1933)

 

Glories of the West: Colonial Williamsburg Homeschool Days

Source: Colonial Williamsburg Homeschool Days | Colonial Williamsburg’s Facebook Page

So much goodness in this picture! The Governor’s Mansion at Colonial Williamsburg, once the capital of 18th-century Virginia, with adorable little girls in proper Colonial attire carrying a basket of naturally-dyed wool from (perhaps) some of the Leicester Longwool heritage sheep raised there. A recreation of early America at its finest! Anyone who claims that “America was never that great” should look at this picture, and be ashamed. Yes, we were still colonies of Great Britain at that point in history. But the groundwork was already being laid…

And then we have the excellent phenomenon of homeschooling, in which parents can opt their children out of the politically-correct agendas of so much of public (and even private) schooling! So glad that Colonial Williamsburg – historically one of the flagship sites for living history, and a major influence on me, in childhood and beyond – is providing programs in support. Children need to learn about our history and heritage, and there is no better way than through experiential learning.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has come under fire (not without justification, it must be said) in recent years, for apparent financial mismanagement, and also for some of its programming decisions: replacing costumed interpreters with docents in modern attire, canceling popular events, discouraging reenactor participation, and cashiering the popular tavern Balladeers, for example. But this, at least, deserves commendation.

Old-fashioned toys, not video games, best for kids, pediatricians say | WRCBtv.com – Chattanooga

Image

Don’t be fooled by all those “educational” electronics in stores. What’s best for your kids, pediatricians say, are old-fashioned toys that require you to actually interact with them.

Source: Old-fashioned toys, not video games, best for kids, pediatrician – WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

“Play is important for child development, but children learn best from adults. They get language skills, learn about how the world works, and get feedback that can reinforce learning and positive behavior, the American Academy of Pediatrics says in new guidelines for people buying toys for kids.”

The most amazing part of this is that, apparently, it comes as a surprise to some people!

The AAP cautions that

“a little common sense goes a long way, the AAP says in its reminders. Kids need to use their imaginations, they need to move both their hands and their bodies and they need to express creativity. Simple toys such as blocks, crayons and card games can fill these needs better than the flashiest video game”

And goes on to add,

“The truth is most tablets, computer games, and apps advertised as ‘educational’ aren’t. Most ‘educational’ apps target memory skills, such as ABCs and shapes,” the guidelines read.

“These skills are only one part of school readiness. The skills young children really need to learn for success in school (and life) include impulse control, managing emotions, and creative, flexible thinking. These are best learned through unstructured and social play with family and friends.”

So-called educational games and apps on digital media may, in fact, delay social development [emphasis added], especially for young children, because [such technology] interferes with their learning about real-life facial expressions and gestures.”

When it comes to screen time, less is more:

“Parents also need to remember to limit kids’ use of video and computer games, the AAP says. ‘Total screen time, including television and computer use, should be less than one hour per day for children 2 years or older and avoided for those younger than 2 years of age,’ the guidelines point out.”

That was the rule in my growing-up years, when “screens” meant television. I may have chafed at it, at the time, but (with the perspective and, hopefully, maturity that age brings) I recognize the wisdom of the restriction, now.

Caveat emptor! “Some products may be marketed in a way that makes parents feel their kids are missing out if they don’t get them. Don’t fall for it, the AAP says.” Oh, really? Do ya think? Gee, I didn’t know that corporations ever marketed their products in ways that over-state their benefits and minimize their risks… *wry smile*

In any case:

Read the whole article – there’s a lot more information, and it’s all interesting, especially to those who care about the social and physical, as well as intellectual and psycho-emotional, development of children.

The Breakdown of Family and Religion Explains France’s Social Unrest

As religion weakens, family structure weakens, and as family structure weakens, government strengthens and grows.

Source: The Breakdown of Family and Religion Explains France’s Social Unrest

“As France is gripped by civil disorder,” this essay notes, “many commentators identify, quite correctly, as the culprit the outsized burden that France’s bloated welfare state places on its citizens.” In other words, the issues are economic. As former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s campaign manager, James Carville, once put it, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Well… to a point. But, as the essay goes on to point out, economics alone cannot adequately explain the situation. Or to put it another way, economic issues are a symptom, not the cause, of the French malaise – a malaise which is spreading throughout the West. Although Europe is the hardest-hit, even the U.S. is not immune. What, then, is the root disease, of which the current unrest is symptomatic?

“The vast expansion of the welfare state, both in Europe and in the United States, occurred in tandem with a weakening of the family. And weakening of the family generally occurs in an environment of weakening of religion…

“As religion weakens, family structure weakens, and as family structure weakens, government strengthens and grows. Where people once looked to their parents to transmit values, love, and care, increasingly they are looking to government.

“The problem is that it doesn’t work.

“Traditional family and marriage reflect eternal values that cannot be replaced by government.”

Amen. Continue reading “The Breakdown of Family and Religion Explains France’s Social Unrest”

‘Multiple Men’ Were ‘Ready to Take a Bullet’ for Us, Says Shooting Survivor

Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 9.34.25 AM
Screen shot of a tweet by ABC’s Good Morning America. Interestingly enough, this video clip has been removed from the link above. Do they not want to promote, or even admit to, male heroism? Is that just too far removed from the dominant narrative, in today’s media?

Source: ‘Multiple Men’ Were ‘Ready to Take a Bullet’ for Us, Says Shooting Survivor

As “Mister Rogers” used to say, “look for the helpers.”

“Toxic masculinity” – or the protest against it – is all the rage these days, in the Left-wing media and academic world. America, so the currently-dominant narrative (a la #metoo) goes, is a land of misogyny, a “rape culture” in which sexual exploitation, assault, and violence against women women is commonplace.

I will not here discuss the incredible twisting of any rational definition of “assault” required to get to this number (and even then, it may well be a fantasy). Nor will I dwell on the fact that some of those same Leftists are willing to welcome with open arms a genuine rape culture, that of Islam (see “grooming gangs” in Britain, and the incredible spike in rapes in Germany and Scandinavia, linked to Moslem migrants).

I will, instead, point out that the horrible tragedy of the Thousand Oaks shootings in California showed positive masculinity at its best. The Daily Signal reports,

“While we were all dog-piled at the side, there were multiple men that got on their knees and pretty much blocked all of us with their backs towards the shooter, ready to take a bullet for any single one of us,” Teylor Whittler, a woman who had been in the club during the shooting, said Thursday morning, reported ABC News.

“And just the amount of people who made sure everyone got out OK or if they were out … they made sure, they went around to every single person around them and asked them if they were OK and if they needed a phone to call their family … just in general any way they could help. It was awesome,” she continued.

And these were just the anonymous heroes; ordinary, decent men doing what ordinary, decent men do, when others are in danger.  There were others, too, as I have elsewhere noted; known, individual examples of courage and heroism:

Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, who was gunned down responding to the incident; 23-year-old Cal Lutheran alumnus Justin Meek, who died shielding his sister and others from the gunman with his own body; Sean Adler, a 48-year-old married father of two, who apparently died attempting to disarm the gunman; former Marine Daniel Manrique, who “ran in to help people escape the violence and ultimately gave his life protecting others.”

This is what men – real men, not either über-macho @$$holes or testosterone-deprived nu-malesdo. It is what all men are supposed to do: to protect, to care for, to defend, and to give help and succor to those in need, and especially to those who may not be able to care for and protect themselves, in a given situation. And if necessary, to lay down their lives for those they are protecting: following the example of Christ Himself, dying that others may live. That is what true manhood, true masculinity, is all about. God bless them!

Bill Gates Tacitly Admits His Common Core Experiment Was A Failure

“It looks like this is as close to an apology or admission of failure as we’re going to get, folks. Sorry about that $4 trillion and mangled years of education for American K-12 kids and teachers…”

Source: Bill Gates Tacitly Admits His Common Core Experiment Was A Failure

“Since 2009, the Gates Foundation’s primary U.S. activity has focused on establishing and implementing Common Core, a set of centrally mandated curriculum rules and tests for what children are to learn in each K-12 grade, with the results linked to school and teacher ratings and punitive measures for low performers. The Gates Foundation has spent more than $400 million itself and influenced $4 trillion in U.S. taxpayer funds towards this goal. Eight years later, however, Bill Gates is admitting failure on that project, and a ‘pivot’ to another that is not likely to go any better…”

Realizing that “Common Core” was, is, and ever shall be FUBAR is progress. But as this essay points out, it is questionable whether Bill Gates and his (and wife Linda’s) Foundation have really learned their lesson. Read on, for more! Continue reading “Bill Gates Tacitly Admits His Common Core Experiment Was A Failure”