The Falstaff Family Centre

invites you to the discussion

By Loreena McKennitt

In 1985, I was asked to put the poem The Stolen Child to music. By the notable Irish poet W.B. Yeats, whose childhood came in the late 19th century, this evocative poem is rich with the ramblings and imagery of a childhood intoxicated by the wild and sensual beauty of the west coast of Ireland. It has been, by far, one of my favourite poems.

Yet, in recent years the poem has started to shift in its meaning for me, particularly with respect to contemporary childhood. I wonder if children experience anything like this anymore.

Professor Henry Giroux, of McMaster University, argues that the very nature of youth, so often spoken of as ‘our future’, is being changed. As he puts it, they’re being “carpet-bombed with consumer culture.”

Building on Professor Giroux’s comments, many child development experts suggest they are also being changed by over-scheduling, relentless technology, loss of family time and community engagement, and at a time of climate crisis, a lost connection with nature. As a mother and a citizen, I join the growing number of people who are gravely concerned.

On a local basis, through my role as the owner and director of the Falstaff Family Centre, The Stolen Child Project has been set up to facilitate an examination of the many challenges facing youth and families in the 21st century, not only here in Stratford, Ontario, but other places as well. The project is intended to cast light on these issues in order to better understand how we can address or mitigate them.

Indeed, like a growing number of communities, we feel the time is right to have a public discussion.

Our children and their future deserve nothing less.



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February 20, 20202 - Youth + Tech, is it helping or hurting your child.


November 28, 2019 - Screenagers: Next Chapter, documentary screening and moderated discussion.

October 24, 2019 - Screenagers, documentary screening.


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