Feeding the Monster
The book is divided into three parts. Using Mary Shelley's classic tale of horror, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, as a metaphor, I explain why too many Americans are turning into monsters. Too many Americans are becoming self-alienated and their children are not succeeding in our schools. I also explain what educators have mistakenly emphasized and tried in order to solve the problem. Part I: Making the Monster builds a definition of personal addiction. I argue that addicts teach addiction to others and that a vast population of Americans is deeply involved in an education in addiction. Part I deals with human needs, desires, and current cultural trends that give birth to addictive personality traits, the monster habits that I talk about when I show the Pet Monster to my pupils. These traits breed self-doubt and low self-esteem. They undermine our relationships and hinder our ability to love and care for ourselves and others. When we can't love ourselves, our children learn not to love themselves. They have difficulty adjusting to the demands and responsibilities they face in school. Addiction has become an entrenched cultural phenomenon. I argue that certain cultural trends are creating personal isolation, family dysfunction, and personal self-doubt. We are witnessing a withering of character and moral value. We are seeing a failure of commitment to personal growth. Part II: Feeding the Monster shows why more and more American families are becoming codependent to addictive cultural values and how this trend leads to the birth of the monster habits that keep our children from succeeding in school. I also discuss the ways our schools themselves support and nourish addictive tendencies in families and students. I look at the debate surrounding school reform and show how, although it is well intentioned, it is also misplaced. In Part II, we learn why we don't see our mistakes and why both parents and educators have developed blind spots in their vision of education. We're so accustomed to the supermonster of addiction that we just don't see it anymore. This is the true failure of education. We're not admitting that cultural codependency to addiction-to the monster-even exists. Part III: Taming the Monster explains what we can do to save ourselves from slipping farther into monsterhood. I suggest what schools, families, and communities must do to foster academic success and breathe value and character back into the lives of children and society. I also provide an outline for educational recovery. Only when we take steps to kill the supermonster and free ourselves from monstrous habits will we be able to stop the destruction that the monsters bring, the destruction that can end our world.
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