Nurture Shock

November 19th. 2009

I was at a perfectly lovely dinner party a few weeks ago, when a friend pulled me aside and preceded to tell me how we’d completely ruined our children. He had my attention. Apparently he’d  heard an interview on NPR with the author Po Bronson about some maverick ideas related to how most yuppie parents had –under the veil of political correctness–taught their children fallacies and inflated their egos to the point of ineptitude. Well, as one who has told her children they were beautiful from the moment they were born, I could see where maybe I had gone overboard, but to have twisted their minds? To validate our conversation that night, my friend offered me his copy of the book and I’ve sat down to confront my fear that I’ve created monsters. Here are some of the chapter titles: The Inverse Power of Praise, Why White Parents Don’t Talk about Race, Why Kids Lie, The Search for Intelligent Life After Kindergarten, Can Self-Control be Taught, The Sibling Effect and Plays Well With Others. Oh, there were more. . .but I needed to save some tidbits for  you to discover on your own. The book was chalked full of studies and resources, and certainly gripped me with its cleaver-styled approach. I’m even going to conduct my own experiment with a gratitude journal and see where that goes, but overall I would say the book was a wake up call toward the condition of materialism and entitlement issues. I’m going to sleep a bit better, because though “Nurture Shock” was painful to read, (I could see where maybe I had gone a bit too much into the self-esteem validation)  I’m wasn’t left with a feeling of despair. Mel and I had committed, from before Mike was born, to raise our children with Biblical truth. So though we may have messed up the periphery stuff, the core values in our kids will guide them through life. And even the authors conclude that children are mysteries.

What Southern Women Know About Faith

November 18th. 2009

Well, with a title like “What Southern Women Know About Faith,” I was nervous and on guard for what was to come after I got past the pretty cover. But this book came recommended to me by a sister Southerner, so I figured if it was along the lines of “Suck your Stomach in and Put on Some Color,” I’d be okay. You may have noticed–particularly in Southern bookstores–there’s a new crop of sassy books written by women who may have had one too many mint juleps and/or overdosed on Aunt Chelsea’s cheese straws. But the truth is, Southern women have come to the season where its okay to embrace our inner (and regional) quirkiness. I owe this freedom to Delta Burke and those Designing Women of the late ’80’s. So. . .bring on the chicken salad and a jello mold, I was ready for some funny reading. Though there were moment of chuckle, as one is wont to do when stories about “mama standing her ground” start to emerge, overall I found the book to be  . . .just plain sweet. The author, Ronda Rich, writes like she talks (or so I can assume from the folksy manner of her delivery—and the fact she mentions her many speaking engagements.) Her round table of friends, from celebrities to cousins, was a delight to see spark up here and there. This book is more back porch charm than spiritual treatise , but it was full of truth. And even if a reader isn’t from the South, they’ll still identify with dark times, uncertainties, and the hope that gets us through. So pull up a rocking chair, grab a cheese straw and settle in.