Second Reformed Church

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: "Their Name is Today"

“Experts inform us that overpopulation is destroying the earth.  I disagree:  greed and selfishness are ruining the planet, not children.  They are born givers, not takers” (1).

Although I disagree with Johann Christoph Arnold’s portrayal of children as born innocent, his book, Their Name is Today, is a clarion call to a world that considers children a burden or a nuisance.

King David’s son, Solomon, wrote,   “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!  He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:3-5, ESV).

Through quotes, reflections, and anecdotes, Arnold shows the value of children and responsibility of the adult world to raise them and to benefit from them, as they benefit from us.

Some that stood out to me:

Children must not be told or allowed to feel that they are a burden – they are a gift from God – and they ought to be told so (10).

Children learn through play and through following after those things which are of interest to them.  Exposure to variety is good, but a college style of curricula might be more advantageous to children (15).

The grading system can kill brilliant and creative minds (29).

Creativity – and not screen time (necessarily) – is to be encouraged:  “How curious will children be, how mentally agile, creative, and persistent in seeking answers to their questions, if, from a young age, they learn to Google it first, and ask questions later (or not at all)?” (51).

Love is the most important thing we give our children (71).                                                 

Discipline and forgiveness are intertwined:  “It also taught me a lesson I have never forgotten – one I drew on in dealing with my own children years later:  don’t be afraid to discipline a child, but the moment you feel he is sorry, be sure there is immediate and complete forgiveness on your part” (93).

And if you have been gifted difficult children in whatever sense that takes spend the time to find the way that they can best be reached and become the men and women they were born to be (109).

Parenting is a high and difficult call, and if our children are going to know that they bear the Image of God (129) and were given life for more than just being right on a standardized exam, we must work hard with them to find what they have been given and may develop to be.

Forget the manuals.  Consider the creative genius of life.  Maximize your joy in the joy of your children.

[This review appears on my blog and at  I received a copy of this book free from Handlebar Publishing and Plough Publishing House in exchange for the review.] 

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