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Raising a Humanist

Raising a Humanist
Conscious Parenting in an Increasingly Fragmented World

Critical Acclaim

March 2021 | 268 pages | SAGE Select
The world is immensely divided and broken. We have lost the art of having conversations with those who are different from us. While we cannot change the world, we can take small remedial steps starting with our homes and communities. 

The authors—communication scholars—with a vast experience of working with parents, teachers and youth engage you in a conversation that is bound to leave a lasting impression on you, your children, and our world. Using critical questions, pragmatic tips and interesting anecdotes, they touch upon the deep divisive issues of our society and provide fascinating ways to use art, technology and media to provide our children with a nurturing community.

Bold and provocative at times, this empowering book is your companion in raising a humanist.

Foreword by Lina Ashar
What is Your Child’s Worldview
Mirroring the Adults
The Unknown Is Scary
The Big Three: How Family, School, and Media Shape Our Children
Echo-Chamber: Our Seemingly Safe Cocoons
Tolerance: Philosophies and Principles
Tolerance Is Amicable Co-existence
Living with Differences
Philosophies and Traditions: Lessons on Co-existence from India
Tolerance Has Its Challenges
Exploring the Indian Philosophy of Sahridayas
Opening Our Hearts and Minds
Step I. Re-examining the Process of Socialization
Step II. Understanding Privilege
Step III. Embracing the Power of ‘Why’ Questions
Step IV. Challenging a Single Story
Unlearning Together
Strategy I. Find Tactful and Innovative Ways to Challenge When Others Are Spreading Stereotypes
Strategy II. Collaborating to Challenge Discrimination
Strategy III: Practising Care
Strategy IV: Talking Through Our Differences
Strategy V: Practising Tolerance in Our Communities
It Isn’t Real, It Is Photoshopped!
Capitalizing on Young People’s Insecurities
Media as the ‘Looking Glass Self’
Debunking Media Myths
Anorexia and Bulimia: When Food Becomes an Enemy
Dark Is Beautiful
Accepting Differences in Body Types
No One Should Apologize for Their Bodies
Periods and the Taboo Culture
Nurturing Your Mind
Using Technology to Connect and Learn
Childhood: Online and Offline
The New Childhood
The Internet and the Everyday Life
Children as Citizens of the World
Becoming a Tech-savvy Parent
The Stranger Danger
Connecting Beyond Borders and Differences
Understanding Your Place in the World: From Local to Global
Using Social Media Purposively
Echo Chambers on Social Media
Online Strategies to Build Global-civic Communities
How to be Safe in an Interconnected World?
Designing the Family Media Diet
Art with a Purpose
Socially Engaged Art Practice
Listening and Responding to Differences
Working Together amid Differences
As We Say Goodbye
Getting Out of the Box
Understanding Systemic Discrimination
Violence Is Not the Solution
Stepping into the Future

Pathak-Shelat and Bhatia’s new book Raising a Humanist: Conscious Parenting in an Increasingly Fragmented World provides a much-needed exploration of how adults can guide children to become empathetic, tolerant and critically reflective humans in an ever-changing technological landscape. As scholars and parents, we applaud the authors for delving deep into some of the most challenging questions of our times in a rigorous and thoughtful yet accessible manner. Concepts are carefully unpacked, illustrated with ‘real-world’ scenarios and framed in ways that adults and kids can talk about together. Especially well done are the calls of the authors to move outside our echo chambers and genuinely engage in dialogue and active listening. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in parenting in these politically complex and technologically disruptive times.

Christine L. Garlough and Dhavan V. Shah
Professor, Department of Gender & Women’s Studies, Head of the Folklore Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Louis A. & Mary E. Maier-Bascom Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Raising a Humanist is a must-read, especially for parents, educators and concerned citizens who are hungry for a radical vision of the world that we will leave for our children, not driven innately by fear and suspicion, but from the point of well-being, empathy, pleasure, curiosity and engagement with rich and diverse people, platforms and places. This book is a refreshing departure from the tiresome ‘how to’ books imposed on caregivers, as you see guilt and fear taking a rightful back seat to more nuanced, critical and creative conversations that generate excitement for how we would like to see the world turn for the better.

Payal Arora
Professor and Chair in Technology, Values, and Global Media Cultures, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Author of The Next Billion Users: Digital Life Beyond the West

As a scholar who reflects on contemporary media discourse, as an academic leader who is responsible for shaping young minds and as a parent who is raising a child, this text had me at its title. The book addresses key questions and concepts informing the experiences of parents. It mainstreams the power of initiating difficult conversations and discussions, guided by a strong yet sensitive rationale at its core. A must-read for everyone, academic or non-academic, for we all raise ideas, beliefs and people. The book will not only make its readers more self-aware of their personal and social ecosystems but will also extend itself to being a reference, sometimes even a toolkit, to negotiate with questions and everyday practices in their journeys of raising tolerant youngsters.

Ruchi Kher Jaggi, PhD
Professor and Director, Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication India

Pathak-Shelat and Bhatia’s book Raising a Humanist comes handy in this VUCA world to parents when the pandemic has added to the parenting pangs. The lucid case studies and the real-life examples in the book make an interesting read. The book not only sketches the social divide but also remediates it by addressing its concerns. The book talks of the nuances of religion and prejudice in the most succinct manner. One cannot miss the imagery drawn through the use of the concept of ‘echo chambers’. The book also suggests a few simple practices to refurbish the social fabric, which, if adopted, would ease the process of raising conscientious and empathetic children. Debunking some of the parenting myths with reality-check exercises is a frosting on the cake. The spaces provided for pausing compels one to introspect, which is very crucial for a parent. The question is, ‘Should you rock the boat or not?’ Do read this book to find that out. I assure the ride is worth taking.

Dr Heena Rachh
Educationist and Thought Leader, Principal at Global Indian International School, Abu Dhabi

The book Raising a Humanist: Conscious Parenting in an Increasingly Fragmented World aims to help parents debunk stereotypes, biases, mental conditioning about gender, caste, religion and class. Children from a young age are conditioned into stereotypical and biased ways of thinking if parents are not alert. The book not only raises the right questions but also offers solutions by providing a deeper understanding of popular culture and the role of the media in gender, religious, caste and class portrayals! Most importantly, the authors tell us how to unlearn and re-learn as parents first so that we can raise children who can walk through life with confidence and compassion. This book should be in every parent’s must-read list! I strongly recommend this book not only to parents but to anyone who wants to shape young minds in meaningful ways.

Falguni Vasavada
Professor and Chair, Strategic Marketing Area, MICA, Ahmedabad

Professor Manisha Pathak-Shelat and Kiran Bhatia bring to the subject of ‘parenting’ a lens which is both deep and accessible. It is a book that speaks to one of the most pressing issues of our time—how to raise a child in this polarized and conflicted world—and does so with insight and wisdom. As academics, the authors use a lens that is scholarly in its multidisciplinary sweep while never straying too far from rooting the book in everyday experiences.

Santosh Desai
Columnist, Media Critic and Bestselling Author; Managing Director and CEO, Futurebrands India

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ISBN: 9789353887759

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