I'm rereading this. The first time I read it was back in Eugene when all the kids were little. Funny how differently it "reads" to me now.
I think it's...moreI'm rereading this. The first time I read it was back in Eugene when all the kids were little. Funny how differently it "reads" to me now.
I think it's a good book, with lots of tools for the novice parent. How to remark on a situation without blaming or threatening, how to forestall the need for punishment or use natural consequences, and so on. Even when I first read it as a new mom, probably because I had a decent upbringing myself, the examples of poor behavior seemed stretched and far out. My kids NEVER say "You're not the boss of me," and I never say, "Look at this pigsty, you're going to be a bum when you grow up if you don't start getting it together!" So I always found it confusing -- I knew I wasn't THAT bad a parent but I knew I certainly wasn't tops either.
Also, there is that issue of choleric behavior. The parents and kids seem to be acting like cholerics. I think these temperaments are the ones most likely to find themselves in a child-raising crisis but part of it is just temperamental response. Other more subtle problems to do with passiveness or carelessness or detachment seem to go largely unrecognized. I'm not talking about this book in particular right now but about parenting books in general. (less)
The author thinks that childhood happiness that puts down real roots comes from the following:
Connection, Play, Practice, Mastery, Recognition
Connecti...moreThe author thinks that childhood happiness that puts down real roots comes from the following:
Connection, Play, Practice, Mastery, Recognition
Connection is the groundwork for all the rest. He points out that even kids from troubled backgrounds can succeed IF they find a person that can help them connect. But obviously, it's better if the parents themselves provide the basis for connection, and he says we don't have to be perfect to provide this -- just willing to love the kids, enjoy them, spend time with them, be committed to them without conditions.
From there he moves to Play. Play is a child's work, he says, because it induces that state of "flow" now recognized as being key to productive, meaningful work. Play is NOT entertainment. Things like TV and computer games and shows and events that are entertainment-based are not play, he says. Play is when you are outside yourself, completely absorbed with mind, imagination, everything working together.
When we enjoy something enough to "play" at it, we want to get better, which leads to Practice. From practice comes Mastery, and then we get Recognition. Look at a child learning to walk. She practices because she wants to improve, and with success -- mastery -- comes the affirmation of being a part of the community in a new way -- she's able to function now as a walking member of the community, and is recognized as being so.
Recognition brings us back to Connection -- a deeper connection to the world we live in and to others. This process is envisioned as a circular or perhaps spiral one. It deepens and broadens in many ways until the adult has laid down roots of happiness that will let him flourish and bear fruit.
The author makes the point -- and I will have to ponder this one, but I thought it was interesting -- that when we commit ourselves for a lifetime to a religious belief or moral system, it's usually not so much because of warnings or training as because we have "connected".
I suppose, though he does not say it, you could say the same thing about "education". The key thing about educated people who want to keep learning, I would say, is that they have experienced this cycle in learning. Whether we educate kids in a structured or non-structured way, it seems important to make sure that the kids experience learning as a connection, as play, so they can lay the groundwork for practice and then achieve mastery and recognition.
The author talks about the "Harvard Fallacy" -- exemplified by parents who think that getting their kids to the "right schools" is the key to happiness in their adult life. He sees this as very destructive because it pins happiness on something extrinsic, not to do with the essence of the person. The Harvard Fallacy crops up in different ways, like in pushing for sports achievement, popularity or "coolness" , or even I would imagine, encouraging kids to be compliant and "good" without a real heart foundation. (less)
Interesting -- lists how introverts learn and a lot of it is similar to unschooling: Introverts:
* Require time and space, and need to act at their own...moreInteresting -- lists how introverts learn and a lot of it is similar to unschooling: Introverts:
* Require time and space, and need to act at their own pace * Thrive in a patient, accepting atmosphere * Private -- need to have a sense of ownership over their space and belongings * Like clear instructions and information * Enjoy polishing and deepening their ideas and impressions, taking time * Appreciate feedback and input AFTER they have come to understand the concept.(less)
Another thing about "types" of intellects. I just finished reading a book called Please Understand Me by David Keirsey. It is about the 16 temperament...moreAnother thing about "types" of intellects. I just finished reading a book called Please Understand Me by David Keirsey. It is about the 16 temperament types. Some of what you are describing sounds like the characteristics of a certain temperament, the sensorial judicial --
"When you combine the practical, realistic, fairly cautious aspect of S (sensation) with the determined, closure-seeking aspect of J (judgment), you have a traditionalist, an SJ temperament. The SJ is driven, above all, by her need to do her duty. The most common type in education, the SJ comprises 38 percent of the general population and 56 percent of the teaching population (Keirsey and Bates 1978, pp. 39 and 166). . " http://tinyurl.com/nf6oo
I see I'm quoting authorities here ;-) but to me it provided some insight. This personality type is production and task-oriented and enjoys a "practical, well-defined hierachy". These people tend to sort of rule the school territory as teachers and students. Often they are the ones who become principals and administrators, from what the article said. They're not the *only* types that are attracted to teaching or excel in "schooly" academics, but they are the most common (my own memories seem to support the statistics above). They are authority and precedent based as you describe. Structure and straightforward predictability aids them in achievement, which they value, and they sometimes don't see that their task isn't to make everyone over in their image. Often they may see other types as "over-active discipline problems" or as "daydreaming underachievers", depending on the child they are looking at.
Then there is another intellectual type, the absent-minded thinker who forgets to tie her own shoes. My DH is an indie computer game developer. We were at dinner with one of his old-time friends and business partners. They were joking (sort of self-referentially, since there were a couple of this type at the dinner table) about the impractical geniuses that seem pretty over-represented in th field. These are the ones that are called "nerds" in the schools and they often develop their intellectual skills at the expense of social and practical skills because that's the only way they see of coping in the school system. And social and practical skills don't seem all that important to them, anyway.
They AREN'T the same as the ones who recite the facts and quote authorities, necessarily. They are the ones who sit at the computer screen doing RPGs until they realize they are starving and go grab a couple of Snickers bars. Then they look up again and it's morning ;-). Or sometimes they're planning how to take over the universe ;-). Or they are becoming first-class experts in a tiny knowledge field-- like my 17yo son when he got interested in giant sequoias and read every technical and non-technical book he could find in the library. Actually those are often the ones with the large useless vocabularies and esoteric math-puzzle skills, I would say. They don't necessarily learn those things "because they are supposed to" or to bolster up their authority but because they simply love doing it. It's how they get their thrills.(less)
I picked this up at the library and read it within a day. It was very readable and gripping, but I did skim through all the passages about Chinese spi...moreI picked this up at the library and read it within a day. It was very readable and gripping, but I did skim through all the passages about Chinese spiritualism. (less)