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The Parent's Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents

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4.50  ·  Rating details ·  843 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Classic Taoist wisdom applied to the world of parenting, guiding mothers and fathers to meaningful conversations and relationships with their children.
William C. Martin has freshly reinterpreted the Tao Te Ching to speak directly and clearly to the most difficult of modern tasks-- parenting. With its combination of free verse and judicious advice, The Parent's Tao Te Ching
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Paperback, 160 pages
Published March 31st 1999 by Da Capo Lifelong Books (first published 1999)
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4.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  843 ratings  ·  96 reviews


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Badlydone
Feb 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
As a general rule, I avoid books on parenting. I stocked up my shelves with (and actually read) various parenting books before my oldest son was born, but later found that they did little but take up valuable shelf space.

That said, this is the only book on parenting that I will wholeheartedly recommend to any parent, new or old. There are no specifics here - you will not learn how to discipline or how to become your child's confidante or any such thing. You are instead given a broader perspecti
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Kaitlin
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps my favorite book on parenting to date! Fave quote:

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.
Dawn Wright
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
This was enjoyable to read, as poetry. As for it being solid parenting advice, it's more ... pleasantly worded, New Age aphorisms.

I did take a few reminders from it, namely to not invest my own identity in my kids, and to let my life teach more than my words. The parenting style the writer advocates is extremely hands off: no correcting, no disciplining, no consequences except those children create on their own. It sounds very peaceful and utopian, but not always practical.

The spirituality the
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Dolphindancer24
This book has helped me along the way. Whenever I feel overwhelming pressure to parent in accordance with the traditional christian, american values i pick up this book to remind me that one of the oldest cultures on this planet had a very different mentality, as do I.
Betsy
Apr 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
My favorite parenting book. It still gives me peace to read it and it's my favorite shower gift for new moms.
Henna Pääkkönen
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
Parenting is one of the most difficult and responsible tasks on this earth. It is getting more and more challenging in this overwhelming and fast-speed world where kids are used to getting immediate replies with pressing one button and where patience needs to be practiced. Modern technology is great, yet at the same time parents should try to ensure that their kids dont become overdependant on it, and still would know how to play without computer games and smart phones, and to become creative an ...more
Beth
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't think I'll ever be truly finished with this one. I keep it close and pull it out whenever I'm in need.
Derek Skaletsky
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My favorite parenting book. I try to read it every few months.
Kate
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-books
Absolutely beautiful. Words of peace and wisdom to help keep any parent on track. I borrowed this copy from the library but I want to have one always nearby to remind me of what is really important as a parent and a human being. A must-read for all parents. I loved every word and will revisit them often.
Roxanne
Nov 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I turn to when I need a reminder of how to guide my kids through life. I think it is a must for any parent.
Kasturi
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have never been much for philosophical books. But the simplicity of this one was refreshing. It's not just about parenting, it's about life.
Melinda
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent words of wisdom that I revisited this month. Perfect to keep in your purse, car, briefcase and pull out when you have a few minutes to read and think. I guarantee 5 minutes with this book will be more uplifting than 5 minutes of social media.

We live in a world where "parenting" has become a verb, with parents attempting to out-do one another to give their chid(ren) any possible advantage. Martin does a wonderful job of applying Taoism to the crazy world of American parenting, where the
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Sarah Vaona
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
I hesitate to even mark this as "read" because it's a book I'll continue to reread for years to come. The perspective of the Tao on parenting is beautiful. William Martin makes the material approachable and inspirational by dividing each lesson into poetic prose. I couldn't help but imagine myself and my child in each page, and I will use this book as a reminder to be fully present in each day. A necessary break from the typically parenting guidebook, the Parent's Tao Te Ching goes beyond tips a ...more
Stella
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I read each of these words slowly and deliberately, highlighting something on almost every page. I have always loved the Tao, but now as a parent, this version affected me in a whole new way. I couldn't recommend this more and I intend to purchase a copy for all of my loves who enter this fascinating journey of parenthood. The Parents Tao Te Ching is immensely beautiful, yet plainly stated.

"You do not know the true origin of your children. You call them yours, but they belong to a greater
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Chris
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The entire book is superb. Martin has taken a classic of universal wisdom and marvelously rendered it not just for English readers but for our contemporary American context. And for parents, though I'd be surprised if anyone didn't find personal applications for themselves as part of the process. I've been reading a library copy, but have every intention of buying my own and revisiting it regularly.
Randolf Stephens
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent book to reflect on as a parent of two young boys. Worth remembering that despite our modern day obsession with parenting for success, that raising young people to be independent of us, who care, love and want to contribute to society is as much a measure of success as any level of monetary wealth or fame they may achieve.
Ecrharper
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ecxellent

Exactly what I needed. I have purchased a paper copy & a digital one. Everyone should read this book & reference it often.

Katie
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every parent should read this book. A little gem of a book
Dex Glenniza
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Parenting is difficult and complicated. But this book teaches complicated things through simplicity.
Erin Staebler
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I just loved this book. A great reminder of what’s important in life. Shares our role as parents for our children to live out their purpose in life. Will reread again and again. Just loved it! 💕
Jessica Markey
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Best "parenting" book ever! Rich, symbolic, always go back for more. Read this when pregnant with my daughter, truly a meditative gem!
Sudhir Pai
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I usually avoid reading books that are remotely spiritual, and most certainly take a 180-degree turn from anything to do with parenting, even if it's only a book. What prompted me to give this book a try is this one poem -
Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pe
...more
Nikola Nesic
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Written by a man whose only point was to write it
Sara Pierce
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give it 1000 stars! Wisdom of wisdom! If you are a parent: READ it!
Jennifer
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I will risk giving to new parents. So gentle and affirming. I do wish I had read it when it was given to me so many years ago.
Shima
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley saladin
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful

Cover to cover, beautiful message. I felt such a peace reading this, and look forward to working on myself so my children benefit.
Jay
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read, thought provoking and relaxing, but verbose and repetitive. It could have been just as effective by cutting out about 25% of the repeating verbiage and themes.
Alain Burrese
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have always enjoyed reading various editions of "The Tao Te Ching." I find the words calming and stimulating at the same time. Calming in the peaceful nature of the lessons. Stimulating in that the passages cause me to reflect on my own life and actions and how they relate to the world around me. When I saw "The Parent's Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents" by William Martin, I was intrigued. As a parent now, I was interested, where before becoming a father, this edition wouldn't h ...more
Brooke
Jul 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read this book on breaks at work, while away from home and feeling slightly clearer. What a treasure it has become to me, giving me the most simple and appropriate reminders during such a challenging time. Raising a 3-year-old and a little baby has been the most difficult project of my life thus far. This book grounded me and helped me look more critically at my frustrations, my feelings, and my actions.

Above all things, I came away from this book with a sense of lightness and peacefulness. I
...more
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William Martin is an award-winning author whose work expresses the practical wisdom and inspiration of Taoist thought for contemporary readers. He is the spouse of Nancy, the father of Lara and John, and the grandfather of Jillian and Andrew.

A native of California, Bill graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in Electronic Engineering. After four years working for the
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“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”
765 likes
“Do you have agendas for your children that are more important than the children themselves? Lost in the shuffle of uniforms, practices, games, recitals, and performances can be the creative and joyful soul of your child. Watch and listen carefully. Do they have time to daydream? From their dreams will emerge the practices and activities that will make self-discipline as natural as breathing.” 67 likes
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