Book ‘Em

March 19, 2010

Today on Family Favs, Liz Goldberg writes to you via the Antipodes:

Although I consider myself an avid reader, the truth is, with two small kids, I don’t read nearly as much as I’d like.  However, I have recently read two books that were worth the fight late into the night.

The first is “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell.  From the rice fields of China to what month a person is born in and what the Beatles did before attaining great success, Gladwell throws conventional wisdom on its head to take a look at what qualities make a person successful.

He delivers his ideas in bite-sized chunks (great for the late night reader) and while I don’t agree with all of them, it will get you to think about why a person becomes successful in a whole new light.

For those of you with kids out there under the age of ten, have you ever felt frustrated that you still have to ask them to say “please” and “thank you” and that you still have to remind them of how to be polite when greeting adults?  Have you had enough of their picky eating habits, which seem to change with every meal?  Are you amazed at their incredible negotiating skills at the tender age of four?  Do you ever feel overwhelmed with having small children in a consumer society, where the expectation to accumulate things never ends?

The second book I read recently is called “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee:  Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children”, by Wendy Mogel (applicable to parents of all religions).  Mogel was a clinical child psychologist for many years in Los Angeles.  After reaching a point of frustration with psychology and what she could do for her clients, she took a year off to study Judaism, and this book combines her background in psychology with Jewish teachings.

I recommend this book to anyone with children under the age of ten.  Often, I can get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of child rearing and sometimes feel frustrated and lose sight of the bigger picture.  Mogel’s keen insight reminds us that our kid’s behavior is normal and gives sensible strategies on how to handle these behaviors while presenting ideas on how to cherish the moments and create a foundation for a happy and grounded family.

I’ll be writing to you next month from the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.  Until then, have a good one!

(Note: Ken and the Single of the Week will return next week.)

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