Their Name is Today – Book Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review a book by Johann Christoph Arnold, Their Name is Today. 

From the back of the book:

Despite a perfect storm of hostile forces that threaten to deny children a healthy, happy childhood, courageous parents and teachers can turn the tide. Yes, we can reclaim childhood. says Johann Christoph Arnold, whose books have helped more than a million readers through the challenges of education and family life. In Their Name is Today, he highlights drastic changes in the way our society treats children. But he also brings together the voices of dedicated parents and educators who are finding creative ways to give children the time and space they need to grow. Cutting through the noise of conflicting opinions, Arnold takes us to the heart of education and parenting by defending every child’s right to the joy and wonder of childhood.

About the author

Born in Great Britain in 1940 to German refugees, Arnold spent his boyhood years in South America, where his parents found asylum during the war; he immigrated to the United States in 1955. He and his wife have eight children, forty-four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. They live in upstate New York.

He is a noted speaker and writer on marriage, parenting, education, and end-of-life issues, Arnold is a senior pastor of the Bruderhof, a movement of Christian communities. With his wife, Verena, he has counseled thousands of individuals and families over the last forty years.

What I thought about the book.

The idea is great – give every child a wonderful childhood. The problem is that no one can agree on how to do that, or even what a wonderful childhood looks like. Mr. Arnold makes a lot of great points in his book about the problems in today’s society when it comes to children. He talks about parenting to the heart of children and I really like the idea. However, I think a lot of his “fixes” are rather impossible in this day and age. He seems to have a very conservative view. He frowns on television, video games, guns, competitive sports, and too many rules. While I agree that some children have their faces in  a screen too often, I don’t think that taking them away completely is the answer. His views seem old fashioned. I think we do need to step back and let our kids be kids more often, but I also think balance is the key. To me, Their Name is Today isn’t focussing on today at all, but trying to bring todays kids back in time. Times were simpler back then, but I think that rather than sheltering our kids from life today, it is our job as parents to prepare them for the future and live a life of balance. I don’t disagree with everything in the book, but overall it wasn’t something that I could recommend.

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