The Warren & the World is Story Warren’s weekly newsletter, providing a round-up of our favorite things from around the web as well as a review of what was on our site over the past week. We’re glad you’re here!
Around the Web:
Children Who Never Play
Michael J. Lewis writes at First Things about today’s college students, the first of a generation of kids who rarely played–but rather participated primarily in planned activities–and who haven’t learned how to risk.
- A peculiar thing has happened. When I began teaching twenty-five years ago, almost all students would answer the imaginative question but year in, year out, their numbers dwindled, until almost all now take the dry and dutiful one. Baffled, I tried varying the questions but still the pattern held: Given the choice, each successive cohort preferred to recite tangible facts rather than to arrange them in a speculative and potentially risky structure. In other respects, today’s students are stronger than their predecessors; they are conspicuously more socialized, more personally obliging, and considerably more self-disciplined. To teach them is a joy, but they will risk nothing, not even for one facetious question on a minor exam.
Lewis reminds us of the qualities we learned through free play, particularly initiative and leadership, Read more.
Engage Kids in Story Telling
Children’s author Tina McFadden guest posts at Imagination Soup with some specific tips about how to engage children in story telling–even in the books we are reading together.
- According to my mother, as a toddler, I would sit down, open up a book and start babbling to myself. When I had finished “reading” a page, I would flip the page and continue. It didn’t matter if the book was turned upside down – I was making up the whole thing!My mother never stopped me or tried to correct me, and I’m glad she didn’t. Those early babblings were possibly the stirrings of story ideas – ideas that would continue to flow throughout my childhood.
Read more about how to help your children enter the stories.
When Your Child’s Personality Annoys You
Jen Wilkin writes at The Beginning of Wisdom about the challenge of cultivating rather than quashing your child’s strong, sometimes difficult, personality traits.
- Children are like wild morning glories: They require training up. Lacking adult self-control, their personality traits can seem annoying and nuisance-like, undesirable. Sometimes our first response to an annoying personality trait is a desire to pull it out by the roots.But every bloom cultivated in an orderly garden grows as a wildflower somewhere. Children’s untamed and sometimes frustrating personality traits are no different. Before you work to uproot them, consider whether behind that annoying trait is a strength waiting to be trained up. So often, the quality that manifests as a child’s greatest weakness holds the potential to be his greatest strength.
Boyhood, the Masculine Spirit, and the Formative Power of Work
“The mundane and sometimes painful duties of day-to-day life have largely vanished from modern childhood,” writes Joseph Sunde at the Acton Institute Power Blog. He goes on to challenge parents to teach their sons to work.
- When it comes to the cultivation of character and the human imagination, what do we lose in a world wherein work, service, and sacrifice have been largely replaced by superficial pleasures and one-dimensional modes of formation? What do we lose if our children learn only to play hard or study well, without also encountering a long day’s toil on a routine basis?The question applies for all children, of course, but when it comes to work with the hands, boys in particular are especially dependent on the lessons therein. For boys, who tend to process the world externally (and especially so at a young age), any excessive lack in basic hands-on work experience and the value it brings is bound to have severe consequences on the formation of the soul and spirit.
Sunde reminds us that a man cannot effectively wield a sword if he can’t first swing a sickle. Read more.
Around the Warren:
Sitting in Big Church
Beth Holmes tells of the lessons she’s learning as she begins to teach her son to sit in big church. Recounting Henry’s first visit to a communion service, she says,
- He was curious, but behaved better than I could have imagined. As we sat through the service, as my small boy watched this holy sacrament, and as we sang old hymns of the faith, I was struck with the enormity of it all.I’m not just teaching my child to sit still and be quiet until the hour is up and we can go home. I am teaching him to participate in a community of believers that spans the entirety of human history. He is learning to add his voice to the Story, a story that we pray will someday lead to his own redemption.
Learning to be the Church, that’s a lesson we all need sometimes. Read more.
“The Christian… is free to have imagination.”
Thoughts from Francis Schaeffer. Art from Paul Boekell.
5 Questions with S.D. Smith
Something big is coming. Perhaps you’ve seen the hints of it on Twitter or Facebook. It’s somehow related to #RabbitsWithSwords. If you paid close attention to the Story Warren site this week, you may have picked up a few more details than that–like the fact that we’re launching a Kickstarter to publish Sam Smith’s book, The Green Ember! Andrew Mackay’s interview with the author is remarkable for its keen and deeply insightful questions. Oh, and for this:
- Andrew: If you could be any cartoon character from the ’80s, which one would you choose?S.D.: The first one that pops into my head is Lion-O from Thundercats. Lion-O was balanced. He wasn’t quite as strong as Panthro, or as fast as Cheetara, but he had it all. He was a good leader. I would like to be totally awesome at everything, have big muscles, and display a mane of amazing orange hair (or any hair). But if the question was, “What one are you like?” I would have to say that raincloud blue bear from Care Bears. I always identified with that guy.
I know, right?! Read more.
The Green Ember Cover Sneak Peak
If you couldn’t tell, we’re excited over here at Story Warren about finally publishing our first book. Even better, so many of our own had a hand in making it happen. Just check out these credentials:
- The cover art is by the inestimable Zach Franzen, whose art adorns the interior of the book as well. The design is by the always-great Paul Boekell. We’re so pleased with how it turned out.
Check out the cover here.
Launching the Kickstarter!
Have we mentioned we’re launching a Kickstarter for our first book publication, The Green Ember, by S.D. Smith? Oh…well, in case you were interested in learning more, check out this video and then visit this page! And then spread the word!
Something to Do with Your Kids:
This Thursday was National Poetry day, so why not challenge your young readers to create their own poetry? Sound like too much of a challenge for you? Try making Poetry Pebbles for some fun!
And Something to Watch
Have you ever considered trying to race a subway from one station to the next? No? Huh. Well, fortunately for you, these guys have:
Thank you for reading. We’re on your side.