Friday, January 07, 2011

Book Club: Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child : Introduction

Cindy is hosting a new book club!  We'll be reading Andrew Esolen's Ten Ways' to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child.

Some quotes that stood out to me:
"If we believe what we say, that "children are our greatest resource," then we need to do something about it.  Resources are valuable because they are good, solid, dependable, and inert.  Aluminum is a resources.  Titanium is a resource.  If a block of titanium were suddenly to say, "No, I think I should not like to form an alloy with my friend aluminum to build the side of that airplane," and walked off the assembly line or the conveyor belt and bought a ticket on a ship to Athens, then it would no longer be a resource."

Children are our future and children as resources. These ideas are bandied about regularly. (Whitney Houston, anyone?) What are resources? In economic terms? In physical, spiritual, emotional, mental terms? Whatever resources are, ought they be children? I think this is easy for me to see, one whose professional career was in "Human Resources."

Merriam-Webster defines "resource" so:

1a : a source of supply or support : an available means —usually used in plural b : a natural source of wealth or revenue —often used in plural c : a natural feature or phenomenon that enhances the quality of human life d : computable wealth —usually used in plural e : a source of information or expertise
2: something to which one has recourse in difficulty : expedient
3: a possibility of relief or recovery
4: a means of spending one's leisure time
5: an ability to meet and handle a situation : resourcefulness
Webster's 1828 says:

1. Any source of aid or support; an expedient to which a person may resort for assistance, safety or supply; means yet untried; resort. An enterprising man finds resources in his own mind.
Pallas view'd his foes pursuing and his friends pursu'd, used threat'nings mix'd with prayers, his last resource.
2. Resources, in the plural, pecuniary means; funds; money or any property that can be converted into supplies; means of raising money or supplies. Our national resources for carrying on war are abundant. Commerce and manufactures furnish ample resources.
So people resources are those who help in time of trouble, and our children may be that at some point in their adulthood, but ought they be so during their childhood?  If we think of "resources" as building blocks or parts and pieces used for building something else, what are we building with children? Or should we be building children; instead of making them resources, providing resources for them?

If we but deaden the imagination, then, we can settle the child down, and make of him that solid, dependable, and inert space-filler in school and, later, a block of the great state pyramid.
There it is again ... are they building blocks or builders?
If we loved children, we would have a few.  If we had them, we would want them as children, and would love the wonder with which they behold the world, and would hope that some of it might open our own eyes a little.
What does it mean to want them as children? What does it mean for them to behold? How do we behold?   Do we want them to behold?  Do beholders build or are they built?
For the first time in human history, most people are doing things that could never interest a child enough to make him want to tag along.
Do they interest us either? Are we builders or are we built?
We must, then, kill the imagination.  The ideal, of course, would be to cease having children, but that might have some adverse effect upon long-range economic prosperity.
Are the economics important? Are people important? How and why? Is economics all there is to people?  If we kill the imagination, perhaps we make it so ... people are forced to be cogs in the wheel in order to consume more and more.

More questions than answers, good thing it is the introduction ... 

More reading at Cindy's blog Introduction post.  Including a fascinating review of the book's cover by Dana.


  1. It constantly amazes me how each person pulls out something from a book. I really appreciate your emphasis on resources. We live in a time when we have lost the ability to determine true value because we have placed a utilitarian price tag on everything. Children are a long term investment.

  2. It is hard to underestimate how much we are influenced by the values our culture holds. Many Europeans value their dogs more than their children and argue for immigration to prop up social security. I don't believe the state should be providing for our old age, but I think that a culture is in terrible trouble when it no longer wants to have children.
    Viewing children as resources is key to this problem.

  3. Basically, my take is we all have this imagination of which Esolen speaks....

    obviously in varying stages and degrees....

    and our duty as stewards is to
    1)remember, 2)recognize, and
    3)realize that it is there

    and inform it according to His Will.


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