Technology’s kids


The Destruction of Childhood

Anthony Esolen’s exceptional and incisive Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (2010) exposes the many techniques of controlling, taming, brainwashing, and manipulating children’s minds and hearts–methods that have transformed the lives of the young from innocent, adventurous boys and girls in love with life and rapt with wonder into passive creatures undergoing indoctrination at many levels. Each of these ten ways that attack or distort childhood robs it of its enchantment and joy and substitutes some artificial world for real life.

The first of these insidious attacks upon childhood is the loss of outdoor life: “Keep your children indoors as much as possible.” The child who dwells indoors most of his time fails to learn many things that play in the outdoors teaches. He will not wonder at the immensity and beauty of the sky, a natural source of the awe and majesty of the created world: “But the vastness of the sky will naturally lead the mind to contemplate infinities; it is wholly apt to associate the sky with the expansiveness of the spirit, with joy and freedom and holiness.” Without gazing at the sky as an elemental reality of creation, the child does not see the glory of the stars or marvel like the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins when he looks above and exclaims in “The Starlight Night”: “Look at the stars! look, look up at the skies! / Look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!”

esolenWithout his normal exposure to the outdoors as the natural environment for play, the child views earth, air, fire, water, and stars as mere things rather than as a wonder book of the masterpieces of creation with their special, distinct colors, shapes, textures, scents, and sounds. A world teeming with life becomes a hollow universe. Instead of this vital experience children’s knowledge of Mother Nature shrinks to visits to zoos or museum or to outings to famous sites like the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park as if the rest of creation offered no sense of grandeur or abundance. An imaginative child, however, acquires a knowledge of the nature of things when he explores the outdoor realm around him with his five senses, tastes the goodness of creation, learns with Hopkins of Nature’s “pied beauty” in the sky, “brute beauty” in the mountains, and the wildness of moors, fells, and downs:

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet,
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet. (“Inversnaid”)

The second assault upon children takes the form of the elaborate organization of their lives: “Never leave the children to themselves” or “If we only had a committee.” Unlike the past when children invented, supervised, and umpired their own games without adult involvement, modern children lack the imagination to invent their own fun. Whether it is day-care centers, organized athletics, summer school enrichment programs, music lessons, or summer camp, the regimen of scheduled activities and careful management of time determined by adults all deprive children of “huge blocks of time to be themselves, outdoors with others of their kind, inventing things to do!” Once upon a time children designed their own fields, improvised their equipment, recruited players, determined the rules, and decided on their own whether a ball was in or out of bounds. In an authentic childhood children create their own culture and escape the confinement of adult schedules and bureaucratic micromanagement. As Esolen explains with an example from Tom Sawyer when Tom and his companions form their gang of robbers, “Left to themselves, they simply will not remain alone. They will organize. They will establish their petty kingdom, declare decrees, seat and unseat rulers, give one another new names, invent secret codes, build hideouts . . . all to fill the blessed days of summer.” Childhood is a time of adventure, exploration, and freedom from the narrow restraints of the time management schemes of adults. Tom Sawyer’s gang “needed no committees. They were alive.”

Another blow to childhood is the disappearance of fairy tales that are replaced with “political clichés and fads”—books and stories with ideological agendas. Fairy tales that transmit proverbial wisdom and timeless moral truths, however, are not beholden to any political party or social platforms. They are not tame, sentimental tales that soften the hard truths about the meanness, selfishness, and cruelty of evil. They never depict a safe world or an ambiguous version of right and wrong: witches, ogres, and evil step-mothers always reflect the ugliness of evil, and Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and the Little Mermaid capture the purity and attractiveness of goodness. Fairy tales deal in the strange paradoxes of life like the luck of the fool who succeeds without trying too hard or the small, lowly, and humble (The Gallant Little Tailor) who outsmart the cunning and strong. They reveal the mystery of wishes coming true when they come from a pure heart, from honest effort, and from a great sense of gratitude. On the other hand, students in schools suffer indoctrination in the form of political correctness (“the Correct Way to think about Everything”) in revisionist histories, in books that substitute liberal political propaganda for literature that deals in universal truths, and in trite bromides that promote diversity in all its bizarre, unnatural forms. As Esolen concludes, “The reduction of all things to politics must reduce them, in their own right, to irrelevance.”

Further harm occurs to a child’s imagination when modern educators “cast aspersions upon the heroic and the patriotic” and “cut all heroes down to size.” Instead of the inspiration of noble martyrs like Father Jean de Brebeuf tormented by the Huron Indians or chivalrous knights like Don Quixote committed to restoring chivalry and honor to a base world whom Esolen cites, the young never learn about the virtue of magnanimity, the desire to aim at something great. Esolen writes, “This dismissal of what is quintessentially courageous is, fortunately, a staple of the modern textbook.” Thus students never acquire a moral imagination that stirs a passionate love of goodness, excellence, and greatness as ideals to emulate. Instead they soon develop a sense of emasculated manhood that C. S. Lewis identified as “men without chests.” Instead of the young aspiring to imitate the honorable, magnanimous, and courageous, they absorb an indoctrination in false equality (“leveling”) in which “I’m a hero, you’re a hero,” and everyone is a hero. Dumbing down always corrupts the imagination.

Another method that kills the child’s creative imagination is the waste of time spent in mindless diversions–what Esolen labels “Distract the Child with the Shallow and the Unreal.” Children spend hours before “the wasteland of television” and video culture that inundates the mind with distorted images of ordinary life. Even in schools and libraries students sit in front of computers and stare at screens for more hours than they look out windows or notice flowers and trees. They consume hours playing addictive video games, oblivious to the most adventurous, delightful aspects of living: “A whole world lay in wait beyond the windows, a world of sound and silence, of both solitude and that genuine friendship that needs no words to express itself.” Distracted constantly by noise, gaudy colors, and entertainment, the child’s mind never expands, wonders, contemplates, or learns to think in the natural atmosphere of quiet and tranquility. Children miss the atmosphere of silence conducive to reflection, awareness of God, gratitude, and the mysteries of goodness, beauty, and truth. This void in children’s lives Esolen calls the denial of the transcendent—the most sublime objects of thought that most powerfully awaken the mind, heart, and soul.

A child’s imagination is a precious gift that elevates and enlarges his humanity and awakens his love of life. Instead of nourishing it with outdoor play, good books, the heroic lives of noble men and women, bonds of affection with family and friends, and a sense of the sacred and the transcendent, the controllers and organizers of children’s lives reduce them to consumers of banalities, superficial pleasures, and political slogans. While the children exist and function, they do not seem as alive, charming, or vivacious as the boys and girls blessed with authentic childhoods with the freedom to invent their own games, with leisure to enjoy the company of friends, with time to bond with their parents and learn from them, and with the silence to wonder and think about the stars. With an undernourished, uncultivated, or stifled imagination the child’s mind never awakens to the glory, adventure, beauty, and goodness of life as a great gift to be cherished, loved, transmitted, and defended.

Mitchell Kalpakgian, Ph.D. has completed fifty years of teaching beginning as a teaching assistant at the University of Kansas, continuing as a professor of English at Simpson College in Iowa for thirty-one years, and recently teaching part-time at various schools and college in New Hampshire. As well as contributing to a number of publications, he has published seven books: The Marvelous inFielding’s Novels, The Mysteries of Life in Children’s Literature, The Lost Arts of Modern Civilization, An Armenian Family Reunion (a collection of short stories), Modern Manners: The Poetry of Conduct and The Virtue of Civility, and The Virtues We Need Again. He has designed homeschooling literature courses for Seton Home School, and he also teaches online courses for Queen of Heaven Academy and part-time for Northeast Catholic College.

Equal Opportunity Gazers

Ponder Anew presents

“We say not My Father, but Our Father, for the teacher of peace and master of unity would not have men pray singly and severally, since when any prays, he is not to pray for himself only. ”  Prayer, P 223

“The mental posture of prayer calms and purifies the soul, and makes it of more capacity to receive the divine gifts which are poured into it.  For God does not hear us for the prevailing force of our pleadings; He is at all times ready to give us His light, but we are not ready to receive it, but prone to other things.”  Prayer, P. 223

“Through loving God we are aflame to gaze on His beauty.  And since every one rejoices when he obtains what he loves, it follows that the contemplative life terminates in delight…the result being that love also becomes more intense.” Prayer P. 222



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Tearing down Walls: From ‘Rome a Phobia’ to ‘Heart on Fire’

mike crumbie 2

mike crumbie 1

I wrote this up actually around Christmas of 2014, but it is about a most colorful guy, still worth sharing…..

Nationally known Catholic Lay Evangelist spoke at Advent Mission in Hot Springs

Michael Crumbie firmly believes the mainline Christian view of the Eucharist as “only a symbol” is “cutting America off from the grace of God.”

Michael, who has appeared on EWTN’s “Journey Home,” is a dedicated husband of 33 years, father of three, and unabashedly, passionately Catholic.  His “journey home” began as a 23 year southern Baptist pastor who held typical Bible belt, “Rome a Phobic” biases when he started becoming aware of a  gnawing awareness that something was really amiss in protestant services, however sincere and heartfelt.  He wanted something ‘more.’  That something more turned out to be a beautiful strand of liturgical pearls which he discovered in a long process of reflection and an honest, no holes barred look at Church history and tradition.  At the second all-are-welcome session of a 4 night Advent Mission at St. Mary of the Springs and St. John’s churches in Hot Springs, Michael said that while his conversion was the answer to many interior struggles, it was not a ‘misery free’ process.

“I could preach, brother, you’d better believe it.  I would go so long that I began to tell people that I would preach only as long as I had a breath mint. Then one day I went way overtime and I said proudly, ‘Oops, I had a button in my mouth instead.’ ” Eventually, however, Michael noted that his speaking gifts fell short of satisfying his longing for a deeper relationship with God.  “For awhile, I thought I had arrived spiritually, but the void kept lingering. I finally decided to listen to God’s voice in scripture for more insight. I had read them a thousand times, but the verses about the road to Emmaus and the Gentile woman who Jesus healed really started the unveiling process.  When I listened with an open heart, I discovered what both held in common- the focus on bread.”

“Since all Christians are not embracing the Eucharist,

                                    there are no crumbs available for strangers either.

                          We are a spiritually starved nation,

                             unable to share hope and

                        God’s love,  aborting our young,

                            vulnerable to vile evils.”  

“Bread is central in these passages as the vehicle in which Jesus comes and reveals Himself to us. The disciples recognized Jesus when He broke the bread, and the Gentile woman’s Eucharistic vision told Jesus that she would even take the crumbs that fell from the table of the chosen people; she wanted Him so desperately.  This is what I wanted!”  That’s when the scales started falling away from Michael’s eyes in regard to the Catholic Church, but due to long held fears and prejudices about the Church, he had a long way to go.

               “Everything in my Baptist head said ‘no, no,’

                    but my heart screamed yes, yes!”

Michael’s testimonies are genuine and honest.   “I had defended Luther.  But even Martin Luther did not set out to destroy the Church at first- Calvin and others did that- Luther just wanted some changes. I had to face that. Jesus started a Church, so I decided to visit cites in the Holy Land. I did not see a Methodist, Presbyterian or Baptist church on any of those cites; only Catholic churches and chapels.”  However, he still waffled; he started looking into worship in an “Apostolic Catholic” sect where he was eventually “ordained” a priest.  “I thought I had the best of both worlds- the rich tradition, the symbols, the sacred environment, but I was still holding back from the truth of the Eucharist in my protestant heritage.”

Then one day, Michael says God prompted him to remember Abraham’s sacrifice of giving up something very valuable.  “I sensed that I was to ‘give it all up- the fears, the tpride, the self-justifications, the facades I was presenting to others in that sect. I was pretending without committing.” As he let it all go, he began to realize more fully the “Anamnesis” of the Mass.  (‘Anamnesis’ is from the Greek for remembering or memorial.)  “Just as what God did for the Israelites before they left Egypt- commanding them to put lambs blood on their doorposts so the angel of death would pass them over; God does for us again and again in the Mass today: Jesus healing, Jesus forgiving, Jesus saving in the holy Eucharist.  This is what our country and the world needs.”

Michael’s CDs and DVDs about his conversion, the truth about misconceptions of the Mass and the Eucharist, are all available on his website,

Till next Advent, (coming up before we know it) cheers and blessings to you!


Reblogging, brother!

The moment of Enlightenment

Detachment has a bad press sometimes. We are all urged to be so attached: involved, empathic, huggy, kissy etc.

However, if you are attached to a lump of concrete, hurtling towards the ocean’s bottom, then urgent detachment suddenly looks like a very good option indeed, dontchathink?

Here’s the bottom line:

Catholics must detach themselves from the world, the flesh, and the devil, to save their lives,

and attach themselves to the Church, the Life in Christ, and the Holy Trinity, instead.


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Aisles and aisles of Identity Crises


”Since the hidden model of all this is the market.”  

  ‘People cling onto identities… it is a world opposed to the encounter’   -Alain Badiou

sarkozy                            alainAlain Badiou is a French philosopher, formerly chair of Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure and founder of the faculty of Philosophy of the Université de Paris VIII with Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault and Morend Jean-François Lyotard.

Speaking of the market, Mr. Badiou’s thesis on real encounters came home for me in experiences working inside a retail store. While I was in the Kid’s dept at Meijer 24 hours in Taylor, MI years ago, what mystified me were the sheer hundreds of people I would pass in the aisles. I always wondered what sort of interactions these were. What is the criteria for a real encounter? Were the contacts those I saw and those who saw me? Were they those who I shared small, animating gestures consisting of a mere polite nod? Or were the ‘real’ interactions only ones that exchanged a wholehearted hello-how-r-you? How far do you have to go to have a ‘real’ encounter? Since I was a help-er, were the help-ees the only ones I encountered ? And of course, there could be other minutiae of possible ways of acknowledgement.

It was maddening at times wondering what made these interactions so different, similar or practically nonexistent. While I would reorganize a rack or stock a shelf, I would catch myself thinking something like the following: Two persons are walking towards one another thinking of ways to greet another, but when they meet, for some reason they failed to do so-for reasons of distraction, “atomization,” disinterest, or maybe even shyness. Maybe one has a flashback of some kind. For whatever reason, even though they were physically present to each other and able to interact [there were no apparent physical disabilities or compromises], as they passed, at least one finally dismissed outright the opportunity to have another real encounter that day. In plain terms, they ignored each other. Maybe they were preoccupied with stuff.

But given that the two persons saw each other, the two did know or at least infer at the time, that each other existed. didn’t they?

Argh. Maybe I was bored with the repetitive, colored objects.

Cheeers! -Kassey

Destinations: Parallel Paths and Underway


A friend at ualr told me she would not major in philosophy because it is too ‘broad.’ I responded that philosophy only appears to be that way for the reason that there is a lot of thought that must be considered and gathered in- but that’s what makes philosophy so rich. She wasn’t persuaded- however, it made me think more about why people prefer to pursue highly specialized technical fields, technology and science, etc. versus liberal arts and its humanistic “friends,” of which philosophy serves and thrives in, or at least used to.

Please bear with me, I did not take Continental Phil so I am way out on a limb here; I did take Existentialism and it was apparent way before that philosophy is looking for another humanistic ‘home.’  But I believe philosophy has good “streams” ahead.  Why? I think along with Pieper, that philosophy is “a structure of hope” for the reason that I am comfortable with science and philosophy existing alongside; one does not nullify or threaten the other.

His view of philosophers “[…] do not dispute the inherent lawfulness of science.  They do, however, strongly insist on there being other equally indispensable forms of the human epistemological endeavor […].”  As such, Pieper contemplates what he describes as an “inner state of the philosophizing person against the physicist.” Of course, one could think of other minute differences/comparisons of each:

  • The physicist is “certainly not entering on an endless path…the question gets answered, the hope fulfilled, goal achieved. Other questions come up, but that’s a different story…..”
  • The philosophizer has “set his [her] foot on a path whose end he [she] in this world, will never reach.” Remains “underway.”

Happy searching fellow travelers!    thinker and scientist

Source: Josef Pieper. For the Love of Wisdom: Essays on the Nature of Philosophy. “A Plea for Philosophy”. Ignatius Press. San Francisco. 2006. PP. 130-132.


Oh my Goodness


“It is a great token of goodness that every creature conceives itself to be good; therefore, because God is good, so are we.”  Hope, P. 133

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