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Ready Or Not: What Happens When We Treat Children As Small Adults
 
 

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Ready Or Not: What Happens When We Treat Children As Small Adults [Paperback]

Kay Hymowitz
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1, 2000
Asking how we can raise morally responsible children while nurturing their individuality, Hymowitz critiques the radical individualism that seems to have subsumed concern for the common good, the narrow vocationalism of much education, a vulgar and sensationalized media and the insidious ways in which such natural childhood activities as play and exploration have been channeled toward enhanced cognition and academic achievement. The author, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, advocates somewhat nostalgically for a return to the republican childhood of the 19th centuryA"a profound moral achievement"Athat she believes effectively socialized the young into life as active democratic citizens. In a clear and accessible style, Hymowitz draws on the work of educational and psychological theorists, as well as popular culture, to develop her arguments. Unfortunately, the book suffers from a number of conceptual weaknesses, including the notion of "anticulturalism" (the belief that today's youth are being raised outside the influence of culture) and that we can overcome anomie and nihilism by constructing and transmitting a "common culture" (whose culture this would be remains largely unaddressed). Those readers who believe that contemporary social problems can be solved with a renewed emphasis on old-fashioned family values, back-to-basics schooling and rejuvenated adult authority will find much in this book resonant. Those who question the viability of returning to a romanticized past will find the complex issues addressed here oversimplified and framed in rather tired ideological terms. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The kids aren't alright, says Kay S. Hymowitz: Americans are doing a lousy job of raising their children. The next generation isn't being socialized properly, she elaborates, and the result is a country full of sexually active youngsters and exploding juvenile crime rates. "Until the middle of the twentieth century, it was considered an obvious fact that children are prone to cruelty, aggression, and boundless egotism and that a major purpose of their upbringing is to restrain and redirect those impulses," writes Hymowitz, a mother of three. Today, however, so-called experts have advanced "the idea that children are autonomous, independent individuals discovering their own reality." Perhaps this is natural in a country that values individualism, she says, but that doesn't mean adults--parents, teachers, and neighbors--should abandon their traditional roles as authority figures and moral guides. "The truth is, children are ignorant," says Hymowitz; they need adults to help them grow up. Ready or Not emphasizes the problem at the expense of suggesting solutions, but perhaps this is appropriate. There is a real freshness in the author's argument that won't be found elsewhere, but after reading her book, many will wonder how we could have missed the truth for so long. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Asking how we can raise morally responsible children while nurturing their individuality, Hymowitz critiques the radical individualism that seems to have subsumed concern for the common good, the narrow vocationalism of much education, a vulgar and sensationalized media and the insidious ways in which such natural childhood activities as play and exploration have been channeled toward enhanced cognition and academic achievement. The author, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, advocates somewhat nostalgically for a return to the republican childhood of the 19th centuryA"a profound moral achievement"Athat she believes effectively socialized the young into life as active democratic citizens. In a clear and accessible style, Hymowitz draws on the work of educational and psychological theorists, as well as popular culture, to develop her arguments. Unfortunately, the book suffers from a number of conceptual weaknesses, including the notion of "anticulturalism" (the belief that today's youth are being raised outside the influence of culture) and that we can overcome anomie and nihilism by constructing and transmitting a "common culture" (whose culture this would be remains largely unaddressed). Those readers who believe that contemporary social problems can be solved with a renewed emphasis on old-fashioned family values, back-to-basics schooling and rejuvenated adult authority will find much in this book resonant. Those who question the viability of returning to a romanticized past will find the complex issues addressed here oversimplified and framed in rather tired ideological terms. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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