I often find reason to reflect on how incredibly different my daughters' childhood will be than mine was. And it's not just cell phones and google or our relationship with technology that makes childhood different today; it's our relationship with childhood itself. Author Michael Ungar, PhD made the case for revisiting how we look at teenagers in his 2007 book Too Safe for Their Own Good, and now he takes aim at the modern cult of "me" so prevalent in today's youth culture in We Generation (McLelland, 2009). Engaging and timely, this book is an invaluable resource for parents who want their children to become socially responsible and globally aware adults.
As youth culture seems to grow more self-centred and obsessed with "Me,"Michael Ungar shows us that, in fact, children today are as willing as ever to think "We." Given the right signals, and some important changes to the homes we live in, our schools and communities, kids will seek out close connections with the adults in their lives. Like generations before them, they want to be noticed for the contributions they can make. What they need, though, is compassion and encouragement from parents, and some careful attention to their most important connections, those made at home. Combining inspiring stories taken from his clinical work with families and children with expert research gathered from around the world, Ungar reveals how the close connections kids crave, and the support adults provide, can help kids realize their full potential - and how it can also protect them from the dangers of delinquency, whether it be drug abuse, violence, or early sexual activity.
I found We Generation to be a refreshingly optimistic book with a fresh point of view on childhood in the 21st century. I enjoyed Ungar's down-to-earth approach to creating closer connections with our children and look forward to witnessing the flowering of a social conscience in my two young daughters. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has children, works with children or cares about children today.
Review by Kath, urbanmoms.ca staffer and blogger at Losing It.