With the political, economic, and personal problems we deal with on a daily basis, we might forget one of the most important debts we owe to the world we live in. We cannot ignore our children. As parents and teachers, we should take care to give them the knowledge that would help them survive in the world, especially the modern world of the 2000s. Tessa Strickland’s and Kate DePalma’s The Barefoot Book of Children brings some of these pressing issues to our attention. The book motivates us to think about the conversations going on around us. We should consider how the media affects our lives and, in particular, the lives of our children. The issues going on in the world are too important to ignore, especially if we think about how they influence our children’s intellectual, psychological, and social development. We cannot let them grow up in ignorance of what is going on around them. Neither should we let our children look at the world through rose-colored glasses. As parents, guardians, and teachers, it is our duty to help them become aware of the issues at stake in our daily lives. The book encourages us to think about how we raise them and what we need to do to help them become intelligent members of society.
One of the central messages that the book communicates to us is that we must be aware of the kind of information to which we expose our children. Children are naturally curious and thus eagerly absorb knowledge. As parents, guardians, and teachers, we should help them pay closer attention to the individual, social, and religious problems that are part of our reality. According to PRNewswire, “With all of the divisive, and often depressing, conversations in the media, even the most optimistic among us can feel a little helpless, especially when we think about our children, and the future world they might inherit.” If we look at the news, for example, we would find plenty of stories that inform us of the tragedies of the world. We read about terrorist attacks, invasions, and violence. We also read about refugees who seek to find a safe and peaceful harbor in a place where there is no suffering and pain. In view of these daily struggles, we might feel somewhat helpless as we try to raise our children and look at the world for which we are preparing them. We should realize that it is our responsibility to equip them with the skills to face the world into which they are born. The book encourages us to consider some of these issues.
The publication also motivates us to think about the values on which we raise our children. In particular, we should look at what we emphasize as we teach them to adapt to the world of the 2000s. One of the messages we gather from the press release is that “[b]ooks offer an accessible resource for parents and educators to discuss topics children sometimes struggle to grasp, including differences in appearances, beliefs and lifestyles.” The press release draws our attention to the role of reading as such. We no longer read books just for entertainment. For us, they now have a much more important function. Through them, parents and teachers can make complicated topics accessible to children. Topics such as family tensions, gender differences, as well as political and social conflicts come alive for young readers as they look at them in story form. For this crucial reason, we should encourage our children to read books like The Barefoot Book of Children.
One of the values that the book emphasizes is togetherness. In a world where conflicts constantly split families, we need to focus on staying together and sharing love and compassion with those around us. The book actually moves us to think about the importance of family and the bonds that keep us together. If we look at some of the The Barefoot Book of Children: Battling Ignorance in the Young Generation
political issues at stake, it is difficult not to notice how they tend to divide people. In the end, we may come to realize that while we are different in many ways we still share a common humanity. We also share the same earth that we all have a right to no matter where we are or what we do. Strickland and DePalma’s book motivates us to focus on the importance of togetherness. According to the book, “[w]e all have love to give. There are lots of ways to show people you care, like saying sweet things, offering your help or just spending time with them.” In a world where people are increasingly drifting away from each other in response to political, social, and religious conflicts, it is our responsibility to give love and warmth to those around us.
In addition, the book focuses on diversity, including the multiplicity of ideas, beliefs, personalities, and lifestyles. Again, we should consider the kind of environment children grow up in. Even if some of us have been raised in religious families, we are aware that there are many people who are agnostic and that it is their unique choice. To communicate this message to younger readers, Strickland and DePalma suggest that every person has his or her individual attitude to religion: “Some people worship. Some people pray. Some meditate. Some like quiet time to think. Some people prefer to take life as it comes.” The book teaches young readers to respect the individual’s unique beliefs. We should be free to worship in the way we prefer and it is up to us and our children to make our own choices.
Ultimately, we should think about how we teach our children as well as what we teach them. The book moves us to reconsider what we say and do in our everyday lives. We should teach our children to face our social, political, and individual conflicts. Strickland and DePalma’s book does more than draw our attention to them. It moves us to think about the positive impact that we can make as we help our children build their lives.