Thursday 16 August 2007

Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times by Zoe Weil

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPublished by New Society Publishers

Zoe Weil brings us a book that is insightful and practical. Today's culture makes it difficult for those parents who want to raise their children as kind, humane, generous, responsible, and confident people. Children are discouraged from spending time outside in a natural environment, choosing instead to spend time with their computers, gaming systems, and of course television. Commercials are becoming more bold in their quest to push the latest product, and peer pressure - through all ages, including adults - makes it hard to resist materialism.

While we often want our children to have better lives, and can provide them with so much more than we were offered in our childhood, are we really doing what is best for them? It's becoming more common for children to lack self-esteem, confidence, and compassion, instead we are finding apathy, fear, and self-doubt.

Above All, Be Kind is a book which offers solutions to these problems, teaching the parent how to raise their children with positive values. The author gives the parents a teaching tool known as the Four Elements of Humane Education: Providing Information; Teaching critical thinking; Instilling the three Rs of Reverence, Respect and Responsibility, and Offering positive choices.

Parents are encouraged to use these elements in their daily lives and become a more positive role model for their children. The Four Elements enables children to become more aware, empowered and compassionate, usually helping the child to live a happier, and healthier lifestyle.

What I loved about this book, was that as an adult with parents who didn't really help me develop good values, I have learned a great deal that will help me live a more positive life and be a shining example to those around me. I especially liked that throughout the book, the author doesn't just provide instructions without explanation, she explains how and why the Four Elements work. She also provides so many examples from both her personal life and the lives of others which are wonderful lessons in themselves.

I also liked the "Did you know?" sections in which she provides information about important issues such as sweat shops, advertising that is targetted at children, and factory farming. Complimenting those sections, the author provides suggestions on how we can make more humane choices with regard to each issue. Also, a well written questionaire is provided in the latter pages, which you can use to define your goals and ideals, as well as discovering how you can improve the message you send with the actions in your life.

This is by far one of my favourite parenting books.

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