Readings

Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities
"The Commission on Children at Risk, a panel of leading children's doctors, research scientists and youth service professionals, has issued a report to the nation about new strategies to reduce the currently high numbers of U.S. children who are suffering from emotional and behavioral problems such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit, conduct disorders, and thoughts of suicide. The Commission is basing its recommendations on recent scientific findings suggesting that children are biologically "hardwired" for enduring attachments to other people and for moral and spiritual meaning. Meeting children's needs for enduring attachments and for moral and spiritual meaning is the best way to ensure their healthy development, according to the Commission's report."
http://www.americanvalues.org/html/hardwired.html

Panel One--Impact of Family Violence. Family Violence Institute: Integrating Responses to All Forms of Family Violence. Proceedings. April 24, 2003. PP 40-8.
The Center for Human Services, UC Davis Extension, University of California. Sponsored by Office of Child Abuse Prevention, California Department of Social Services.
http://humanservices.ucdavis.edu/pdf/031_194_fvrt_proceedings.pdf

Book CoverRight vs. Wrong - Raising a Child with A Conscience
(Click on book image to order from Indiana University Press)

"Teaching adults how to assist children in their moral development.

How do you teach children to pursue goodness in a morally confusing world? In this book, three child rearing experts offer useful advice for nurturing the conscience in children and adolescents. Written for parents, guardians, and all who work with young people, this book charts the growth of the sense of right and wrong in children ages five to seventeen.

The authors describe important events in moral development: how crucial formative experiences instill feelings of moral connectedness to others; how a sense of right and wrong finds expression in value-based rules; how emotional well-being encourages rule-following as well as redress and healing after wrongdoing; how the sense of moral autonomy and willpower changes over time.

They identify five transformations during these ages, which result in five increasingly sophisticated stages of moral growth. The authors have named the stages after an important feature of each: the External stage, the Brain-Heart stage, the Personified stage, the Confused stage, and the Integrating stage. Each stage is illustrated by many examples and stories culled from years of interviews with children and adolescents. The authors give special attention to how children and adolescents perceive their parents and other adults as nurturing the development of their conscience. This insight becomes a springboard for recommending what parents should and should not do to nurture conscience at particular stages in their children's lives. Rearing a child with a healthy conscience is a dynamic process: development guides parenting and parenting guides development.

The book also gives special attention to how human fallibility, defensiveness, and humor interact with our sense of right and wrong. The authors portray these feelings through a character named the Imp, representing mischief and fun, who comments throughout the book. And at times the authors step up on a soapbox to speak as passionate advocates of the rightful needs of all children and adolescents to receive moral nurturing. This book will help parents and other care givers in this carrying out this important task."

Book Cover
Terror Heart
(Click on book image to order from New Century Publishing.)

"Communication between cultures has never been more important, and perhaps more rare, than it is today. This is particularly true between Islamic and Christian segments of the western world. In Terror Heart, author John E. Sullivan gives us a fast track explanation and education, in disarming detail."

Book CoverEncyclopedia of Philosophers on Religion
(Click on book image to order from McFarland & Co., Inc.

"This encyclopedia presents the religious affiliations and beliefs of 152 prominent philosophers, in A–Z entries. Biographical information is given about each with a special focus on his or her religious upbringing, practice, and beliefs (or lack thereof). Each entry also contains a brief summary of the points each philosopher has made concerning God and religion, typically gathered from a study of the philosopher’s writings. An examination of several complex issues, including the existence and nature of God, human immortality, and the nature of religious language and symbolism, is thus aided via numerous points of view."

Book CoverThe Moral Treatment of Returning Warriors in Early Medieval and Modern Times
(Click on book image to order from The University of Chicago Press.)

"This work is the first book-length study devoted exclusively to a scholarly and systematic analysis of how soldiers returning from battle have been, or should be, treated morally. Long-scattered historical material is pulled together from a variety of sources to show why and how the early medieval custom of imposing penances on returning warriors first originated, and then, by the end of the Middle Ages, had lapsed into disuse."


Book CoverMoral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong
(Click on book image to order from Harper Collins.)

"Marc Hauser's eminently readable and comprehensive book Moral Minds is revolutionary. He argues that humans have evolved a universal moral instinct, unconsciously propelling us to deliver judgments of right and wrong independent of gender, education, and religion. Experience tunes up our moral actions, guiding what we do as opposed to how we deliver our moral verdicts. For hundreds of years, scholars have argued that moral judgments arise from rational and voluntary deliberations about what ought to be. The common belief today is that we reach moral decisions by consciously reasoning from principled explanations of what society determines is right or wrong. This perspective has generated the further belief that our moral psychology is founded entirely on experience and education, developing slowly and subject to considerable variation across cultures. In his groundbreaking book, Hauser shows that this dominant view is illusory. Combining his own cutting-edge research with findings in cognitive psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, economics, and anthropology, he examines the implications of his theory for issues of bioethics, religion, law, and our everyday lives."

Book CoverSpiritual Life of Children
(Click on book image to order from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.)

"In this eighth and final volume in his Pulitzer Prizewinning Children of Crisis series, Coles examines the religious and spiritual lives of children. By using children's own words and pictures, Coles presents their deepest feelings."



Book CoverPicking Cotton
(Click on book image to order from MacMillan.)

"Jennifer Thompson was raped at knifepoint by a man who broke into her apartment while she slept. She was able to escape, and eventually positively identified Ronald Cotton as her attacker. Ronald insisted that she was mistaken-- but Jennifer's positive identification was the compelling evidence that put him behind bars. After eleven years, Ronald was allowed to take a DNA test that proved his innocence. He was released, after serving more than a decade in prison for a crime he never committed. Two years later, Jennifer and Ronald met face to face -- and forged an unlikely friendship that changed both of their lives.

In their own words, Jennifer and Ronald unfold the harrowing details of their tragedy, and challenge our ideas of memory and judgment while demonstrating the profound nature of human grace and the healing power of forgiveness."