Anthony Esolen’s Ten Ways To Destroy the Imagination of Your Child is the roar of the lion father, according to a Washington Times review. While “tiger mom” Amy Chua wants structure and parental control, Esolen thinks children need free time for playing, reading, tree climbing and fooling around.
If we want to destroy children’s imagination, we should fill up their time with scheduled activities, tell them what books to read and what instruments to play and, above all, stress that none of this is to be enjoyed for its own sake but merely as steppingstones to eventual admission to Harvard or Brown.
The structure of Mr. Esolen‘s book is 10 chapters titled by mock “how to” lists to deaden your child’s imagination. For example, “Keep your children indoors as much as possible,” “Never leave children to themselves,” “Replace the fairy tale with political cliches and fads,” “Cast aspersions upon the heroic and patriotic” and “Cut all heroes down to size.” He castigates the bland gender-neutralism of modern society (“Level distinctions between man and woman”) and the general elimination of faith from modern society (“Deny the transcendent”).
For some children, free time is used for climbing trees and inventing games. For others, it’s spent sitting on the couch watching TV or playing video games.