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Monday
Apr062009

the disappearance of childhood


i'm really enjoying neil postman's book, "the disappearance of childhood." my friend phil vischer referenced the book during his conspire conference message "discipled by culture" so i figured it must be a good and important read! in the first chapter, postman describes the closing gap between adulthood and childhood by using examples of clothing (a rapid change in children's clothing to be more like adult clothing), children's games (children's sports and games are increasingly modeled on big league sports), and crime (the difference between adult crimes and children's crimes is rapidly narrowing).


I believe the theme and direction of this book can best be summarized by postman's statement on page 4:


"Everywhere one looks, it may be seen that behavior, language, attitudes, and desires - even the physical appearance - of adults and children are becoming increasingly indistinguishable."


I know that this bothers me - but I'm still trying to figure out why. Is it because I don't want children to be forced to grow up too quickly? Or because I'm nostalgic for the days of my own carefree childhood? I think it bothers me because I'm fearful that while we are trying to instill values of self-confidence and independence in our children - we are actually unintentionally teaching children to leave behind their childhood ways that include creative thinking, imaginative play, honest speech and ruthless faith.


I actually wish that postman were able to write a book titled "the disappearance of adulthood" so that as adults we were able to embrace our childhood ways that we so long ago left behind.



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