Max Elliot Anderson grew up as a reluctant reader. After surveying the market, he sense the need for action-adventures and mysteries for readers 8 – 13, especially boys. Using his extensive experience in the production of motion pictures, videos, and television commercials, Mr. Anderson brings the same visual excitement and heart-pounding action to his stories. Each book has completely different characters, setting, and plot. He’s also begun a traditional series. Seven books are published, with an additional twenty-nine manuscripts completed. Young readers have reported that reading one of his books is like being in an exciting or scary movie. Visit Max at: Books for Boys Blog http://booksandboys.blogspot.com, Author Web Site http://www.maxbooks.9k.com/index_1.html, Video - Captain Jack's Treasure, or My Youtube Videos.
The Battle for Our Children
This year we’re preparing for the arrival of our first two grandchildren. No, not twins. In early 2012, our son and his wife will have a little girl. Then, later in the year, our daughter and her husband are expecting their baby―we don’t know if it’s a girl or boy yet. We’re excited, of course, but other thoughts crowd in.
As a parent or grandparent, you are aware of the many forces at work, intent on attempting to shape the thoughts and opinions of the little ones in your family. What you may not know is that a clock is ticking as you guide the youngsters to independence and maturity.
For decades, psychologists have reported about the critical stages of development in children. As the research progressed, it became clear that formation of personality and the foundations for learning occurred much earlier than had originally been thought.
A young father told me once that as soon as his son began kicking inside the womb, he started singing “Jesus Loves Me” right next to where he was being carried. The father did this nearly every evening. He said that this seemed to calm his son throughout the pregnancy. Later, after the birth of his son, this father noticed something amazing. Any time his little boy became irritable or cranky, he sang that simple, little tune, and the boy calmed almost immediately.
The debate about how children develop has raged for years: whether heredity or environment has the greatest impact on the outcome. The Bible tells us that each of us is born with a God-shaped vacuum, which can be satisfied only with our knowledge of God.
This brings us to more recent findings. A scientific study conducted by a research firm and based on a nationwide representative sampling of more than 4,200 young people and adults shows that people from ages five through thirteen have a 32 percent probability of accepting Christ as their Savior.
Young people fourteen through eighteen have just a 4 percent likelihood of doing so, while adults, ages nineteen through death, have only a 6 percent probability of making that choice. Some people say, “There’s no hurry, I’ll think about it later.” But there is no guarantee of what will happen in the future, and the percentages are against us the older we become.
With this in mind, stop and think about where your pre-fifteen-year-olds are getting the information from which to form their choices and opinions. Consider the following.
Eighty percent of children six and under read or are read to in an average day. But they spend an average of only forty-nine minutes with books in that same average day. This is compared with two hours and twenty-two minutes or more in front of a television or computer screen. Smart phones are eating into the timeline even more.
It is for these and several other reasons that I began writing adventure books for readers eight and up. More specifically, I focus on reluctant boy readers because I, too, grew up as a reluctant reader. Never did I expect my degree in psychology to be used in this way. My intent is to capture the imagination of young readers with Christian chapter adventure books that will cause them to be interested in exploring spiritual things. “Train up a child . . .” is the focal point for everything that I write.
These concepts include such principles as honesty, character, truth, fidelity, selfishness, greed, envy, friendship, love, and a host of others. Morality finds its way into the pages of all my books, as well as evangelism in two or three manuscripts. Even with these themes, secular reviewers point them out, but hasten to add that the books are not “preachy.”
I believe it’s our responsibility to do everything we can for the next generation, to leave this world a better place than when we found it. I hope my books will have a small part in that process.
A recent survey found that 90 percent of parents said that their children under age two watch at least some form of electronic media. And the average amount of TV watched by children two and under was one to two hours a day.
Then the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) made a “screen-free” recommendation for all children under age two. The researchers wanted to study the benefits or harm in educational TV viewing for the same age group. This is some of what they found:
Because educational television programs usually use content and context that doesn’t yet make sense to children under two, there is little, if any, educational value.
Unstructured play proved to be far better than electronic media for encouraging brain development. Through unstructured play, children learn creativity, problem solving, reasoning, and motor skills. Unstructured play also encourages independence by teaching children to entertain themselves.
Little children learn best when they interact with people and not a TV screen.
Even when parents watch TV and videos with their children to help them understand and learn, the children do much better from live interaction and instruction.
A television or radio in the background can also damage a child’s development by distracting parents and decreasing interaction with their children. Hearing these distracting background sounds can also have a negative effect on a child during unstructured playtime.
Television viewing around bedtime is especially negative because it causes difficulties in sleeping and sleep schedules. This affects a child’s mood, behavior, and learning.
Many children with increased exposure to media have delayed language development after they start school.
One of the primary researchers, Dr. Brown, gave the following recommendation to parents: “In today’s ‘achievement culture,’ the best thing you can do for your young child is to give her a chance to have unstructured play―both with you and independently. Children need this in order to figure out how the world works.”
Because you’re concerned about what your children/grandchildren are learning and their literacy success, pay attention to the warnings from AAP and consider reducing or completely eliminating heavy media use for children under two. Instead, begin reading together with your children to better develop literacy and to insure their success in education and life.
To help in this battle for our children, an online children’s magazine has been developed where you can find new short stories to read to your children during the day or at bedtime. Each month, I’ll also have two, new, original short stories in this magazine. You can find more information at http://www.knowonder.com. It’s free.
Parents and grandparents stand on the front lines in the battle for our children. Reading habits you instill early will benefit them for a lifetime.