I have just read the best non-fiction book of my life thus far.And I want to talk with someone about it. It's a little bit lengthy and that could explain some of my summer blogging hiatus. (But it could just be the weather. I didn't really want to be inside in front of a computer,either.) But guess what I just found out? The book I read was the 2nd printing and it has been condensed! The first printing was 20,000 words longer. So go buy it from amazon, it's only 264 pages.
The info in it can be used in practically EVERY human interaction you have in life, but it's specifically about parenting. Here it is:
If you have had any personal interaction with me over the past 3 months, you most likely heard my say, "I'm reading this book right now and ......." then I went on to try to quickly, or not so quickly, articulate what I've been ruminating on.
I will do a super-bad job at trying to condense what has obviously been a lifetime of accumulated knowledge by Gordon Neufeld, but I really want to share just some of the mind-awakening principles. None of these thoughts are my own, I'm not trying to re-write anything they've written, but here goes, some of my favorite quotes by chapter.
"For many today, parenting does not feel natural."
"The secret of parenting is not in what a parent does but rather who the parent is to a child."
"All the parenting skills in the world cannot compensate for a lack of attachment relationship."
"Fitting in with the immature expectations of the peer group is not how the young grow to be independent, self-respecting adults."
(This is one of my favorites from the whole book.)
"Adults who ground their parenting in a solid relationship with the child parent intuitively. They do not have to resort to techniques or manuals but act from understanding and empathy. If we know how to be with our children and who to be for them, we need much less advice on what to do."
Chapter 2"What children fear more than anything, including physical harm is getting lost."
"Whomever the child is most attached to will have the greatest impact on her life."
"To have our children treat us like enemies makes no sense whatsoever, for us, for them, or for our relationship."
Chapter 3"Our children are growing up peer rich and adult poor."
"It is for economic reasons that parenting does not get the respect it should."
Are you hooked yet? Let me go on.
Chapter 4"The power we have lost is the power to command our children's attention, to solicit their good intentions, to evoke their deference and secure their cooperation. Without these four abilities, all we have left is coercion or bribery."
Does this sound familiar to anyone?
"We cannot truly take care of a child who does not count on us to be taken care of, or who depends on us only for food, clothing, shelter, and other material concerns."
"We have put such a premium on independence that we lose sight of what childhood is about."
"We expect that the child's need to be taken care of and our willingness to parent will suffice. We are surprised and offended when children seem resistant to our parenting."
"It is immensely frustrating to manage a child who does not pay attention to us. Getting a child to look at us and to listen to us is foundational to all parenting."
"...parents who avoid giving direction on principle end up abdicating their parenting role."
"We must never intentionally make a child feel bad, guilty, or ashamed in order to get him to be good."
Y'all, I have to stop. There are 18 chapters in this book, but I could go on and on and on. It is answering so many parenting questions some of which I didn't even know I had. It's practical applications are simple and powerful. Understanding and applying them to my relationships with children, family, husband and friends is making a distinguishable difference in my life.
I give a full 2 Thumbs Up and recommend it for all parents, grandparents, teachers, principles, aunts, uncles, and neighbors of children.
If you think this is going to be a book about "God", it's not. So find another excuse because this is not a bait and switch to get you thinking like a follower of Christ if you don't really believe. However, if you're hesitant to read it because of the previous sentence, let me say there was a single paragraph, a solitary one in 264 pages, that may conflict with my personal understanding of how God created people and relationships.
If you get the book and read it let me know! I'd love to hear what you think!