Children diagnosed with ADHD should take medication as a part of treatment because it helps control the associated side effects of inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity....
Not only is witnessing violence distressing for children but is also been shown that it can interfere with the deal with stressors and learn age-appropriate skills....
We live, let’s imagine, in a city where children are dying of a ravaging infection. The good news is that its cause is well understood and its cure, an antibiotic, easily at hand. The bad news is that our city council has been taken over by a faith-healing cult that will go to any lengths to keep the antibiotic from the kids. Some citizens would doubtless point out meekly that faith healing has an ancient history in our city, and we must regard the faith healers with respect—to do otherwise would show a lack of respect for their freedom to faith-heal. (The faith healers’ proposition is that if there were a faith healer praying in every kindergarten the kids wouldn’t get infections in the first place.) A few Tartuffes would see the children writhe and heave in pain and then wring their hands in self-congratulatory piety and wonder why a good God would send such a terrible affliction on the innocent—surely he must have a plan! Most of us—every sane person in the city, actually—would tell the faith healers to go to hell, put off worrying about the Problem of Evil till Friday or Saturday or Sunday, and do everything we could to get as much penicillin to the kids as quickly we could.
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We do live in such a city. Five thousand seven hundred and forty children and teens died from gunfire in the United States, just in 2008 and 2009. Twenty more, including Olivia Engel, who was seven, and Jesse Lewis, who was six, were killed just last week. Some reports say their bodies weren’t shown to their grief-stricken parents to identify them; just their pictures. The overwhelming majority of those children would have been saved with effective gun control. We know that this is so, because, in societies that have effective gun control, children rarely, rarely, rarely die of gunshots. Let’s worry tomorrow about the problem of Evil. Let’s worry more about making sure that when the Problem of Evil appears in a first-grade classroom, it is armed with a penknife.
Gun control is not a panacea, any more than penicillin was. Some violence will always go on. What gun control is good at is controlling guns. Gun control will eliminate gun massacres in America as surely as antibiotics eliminate bacterial infections. , those who oppose it have made a moral choice: that they would rather have gun massacres of children continue rather than surrender whatever idea of freedom or pleasure they find wrapped up in owning guns or seeing guns owned—just as the faith healers would rather watch the children die than accept the reality of scientific medicine. This is a moral choice; many faith healers make it to this day, and not just in thought experiments. But it is absurd to shake our heads sapiently and say we can’t possibly know what would have saved the lives of Olivia and Jesse.
On gun violence and how to end it, the facts are all in, the evidence is clear, the truth there for all who care to know it—indeed, a global consensus is in place, which, in disbelief and now in disgust, the planet waits for us to join. Those who fight against gun control, actively or passively, with a shrug of helplessness, are dooming more kids to horrible deaths and more parents to unspeakable grief just as surely as are those who fight against pediatric medicine or childhood vaccination. It’s really, and inarguably, just as simple as that.
The reason of course is quite obvious. The idea of a picture book, as a literary art form, carries a number of tacit assumptions: picture books are quite large, colourful, easy to read and very simple in their storyline and structure, not very long and (most significantly) produced exclusively for a certain audience, namely children, especially of the younger variety. Picture books are generally put on the shelves of bookstores, libraries, lounge rooms and bedrooms for young children, where they apparently belong. Picture books are synonymous with Children’s Literature. But is this is a necessary condition of the art form itself? Or is it just a cultural convention, more to do with existing expectations, marketing prejudices and literary discourse?
Rather than talk about the differences between older and younger readers, however, I would prefer to consider what they might actually have in common. In particular, we are all interested in playing. We like to look at things from unusual angles, attempt to seek some child-like revelation in the ordinary, and bring our imagination to the task of questioning everyday experience. Why are things the way they are? How might they be different? As an artist, these ‘childish’ activities are the things that preoccupy me when I draw pictures and make up stories, and they don’t necessitate a consideration for any particular audience. What matters are ideas, feelings and the pictures and words that build them. How can they be playful and subvert our usual expectations? What are the ways that something can be represented to most effectively invite us to think and ask questions about the world we live in?
My picture book The Lost Thing, published in 2000, began as a small unimportant doodle in a sketchbook, and for me many stories begin this way, quite unexpectedly and without a serious attempt. (Serious attempts of ‘I’m going to write a good story’ all to often end up as miserable failures! Otherwise there would be a lot more of them.) The doodle was of a man apparently talking to a crab on a beach, which came about from looking at a photo of a little blue pebble crab on a nature magazine cover and simply imagining it was enormous, rather than tiny (so the guy was just there to show scale). I do hundreds of little sketches every year, most which I don’t have much response towards, but this one raised many questions. Where did this creature come from, and more importantly, why is the guy talking to it rather than running away… what would I do if I was that guy?
Studies suggest that younger children may be more vulnerable to the effects of witnessing domestic violence than older children (Johnson and Lieberman, 2011) so it is very disturbing to recognize that young children are more likely to witness incidents of violence than older children (Ybarra, Wilkens, & Lieberman, 2011)....
A year and many drafts, notes, drawings, paintings and designs later, The Lost Thing ended up being a very different story to the one I expected, and significantly works on a number of levels by appealing to the reader’s critical imagination, by asking many more open questions, regardless of whether that imagination belongs to a child or adult. It is both simple and complex - depending upon how the reader chooses to understand it (as with any interesting tale, including those of life in general).