So the book I should be reading right now, for book club, is ten ways to destroy the imagination of your child, by Anthony Esolen:
Play dates, soccer practice, day care, political correctness, drudgery without facts, television, video games, constant supervision, endless distractions: these and other insidious trends in child rearing and education are now the hallmarks of childhood. As author Anthony Esolen demonstrates in this elegantly written, often wickedly funny book, almost everything we are doing to children now constricts their imaginations, usually to serve the ulterior motives of the constrictors.
I’m having trouble getting beyond the first two pages. I fear it’s going to tell me I’m ruining my children’s imagination by letting them watch television. I agree with Jen Fulwiler that “the idea that watching TV is bad for kids is an urban legend started by an evildoing madman who hates mothers.”
How am I supposed to cook dinner when I’ve got two whiny little girls who scream and shriek within 30 seconds of being left to amuse themselves, depleting my ample capacity to ignore them? Is sticking them in front of Sesame Street for an hour ruining them for life? Or worse, will make them grow up to be women office workers who “sit for nine hours and talk to people [they] don’t love, about things that don’t genuinely interest [them], so that [they] can make enough money to put [their children] in day care.” The horror! Do I need to move out to the country and escape the imagination-squashing banality of suburbia? How am I supposed to do it, Professor Esolen? My husband hates mowing the grass! Come on, tell me!
Oh wait, you can’t. You spend the day thinking big thoughts at as a professor at Providence College and then repairing your barn roof in blissful tranquility and solitude, and your wife tends to the children.
Actually, I don’t know what his wife does. And maybe he takes his kids to the office every day.
Like I said, I haven’t managed to read his book yet.
Instead I read this:
which is fun. It’s now apparent to me that Mindy Kaling modeled her book on Tina Fey’s. I prefer Mindy’s, but Bossypants is quite entertaining. I skimmed the parts about her work on 30 Rock and SNL because I’ve seen none of the former and only a few sketches of the latter. Also, Tina’s book has more vulgarity than I would like and she delves into politics (from a viewpoint with which I disagree, which is annoying, how dare she).
There’s a quote from Bossypants I really like, and I think I’ll keep it in mind when I finally go at Mr. Esolen’s book for reals (and I will, because it’s for book club and because I’m probably all wrong about it):
When faced with [a judgmental person], ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work . . . .
I’m joining the “What We’re Reading Wednesday” link-up today, hosted by Jessica at Housewifespice. Thanks Jessica!!