Reviewer Michelle Kaye Malsbury:
Michelle was born in Champaign, IL. Currently, she resides in Asheville, NC
and is in her second year of doctoral studies at Nova Southeastern
University in Ft. Lauderdale with specialization/concentration in
conflict resolution and peace studies. She has over six hundred
articles published on the web and one book published thus far with
many more in the wings. Hobbies include; reading, writing, music, and
playing with her Australian Cattle Dog, Abu.
Author: Jan Arnow, Author
Jan Arnow, author of In the Line of Fire, has penned eight award winning books and many articles. (2015, back cover) She founded and is executive director for Innovations in Peacemaking International where she lectures and is considered an authority on multicultural education, violence abatement, prejudice reduction, leadership, and creativity. Her next work is a teachers and community follow-up guide for this book intended for use in schools, churches, and community centers.
I have been a teacher and found this book remarkably designed like a text book. The chapters are set forth with specific lessons in mind. Each chapter builds on the preceding one and invite the parents or guardians to critically think about what they allow or disallow their children to watch, do, play, etc.. At the end of each chapter parents or guardians are asked to see how they fare and provides examples of what they can do that would turn negative behaviors into positive ones.
For instance, Chapter 1 is titled Conditioning for Hatred and Violence. (2015, TOC) Parents are asked to think about their children’s war toys, video games, and television programs toward consideration of how same might contribute to violent or hateful activities or thoughts. Arnow states that, “Playtime should be a magical juncture during which children can feel strong and empowered.” (p.1) Conversely, “Children brought up in war made to view violence as acceptable behavior in resolving problems will be unlikely to forswear violence as adults.” (p.11) I totally concur, but we do not have to allow our children to find this acceptable behavior for conflict resolution.
Chapter 2 speaks about what your children read. (2015, TOC) Even if your children are reading fairy tales and not Guns and Ammo there are things that parents ought to understand and temper before offering those types of stories carte blanche. Arnow believes that many fairy tales are sexist because they portray women as lesser beings than their male counterparts. Also, Arnow interjects that unless and until all children’s books are ethnically inclusive they cannot be considered important to certain ethnic groups. (paraphrase, 2015, p.30-31) And if certain segments of the population depicted in such books are being marginalized this can create bad ethnic images and contribute to hatred or violence against those members of our population. I had not considered this twist since I am not a mother, but in today’s world this is something that each parent should contemplate and ensure they are abreast of so their children can grow in accepting and empathetic young men and women.
The following chapters touch upon topics that range from a safe environment to speak about concerns and action, to guns/sticks/stones, what roles parents and teachers have in shaping behavior of our youth, to what can be done to change those dynamics.
I have taught anti-bullying workshops and conflict resolution interventions and I believe this is a wonderful book for parents who need to be more in touch with how what goes on in our world shapes the behavior of our children to learn some valuable parenting tools and to alert them to what might be inching toward crisis in their families. Read it and learn!