One September, as classes were resuming, one of my students was describing his summer as a shuttle from swimming camp to golf camp, to the next camp. He said, “the only problem was that I had no time to be bored.” Probing, I learned that he meant he had no time to simply be, to think his own thoughts. Continue reading
In some circles, adults encourage children to learn by “making it fun.” I think this is a bad practice, and an insult to children’s intelligence. Children in the habit of being entertained, or having tasks sugar-coated become accustomed to passivity, and demand little of themselves. Continue reading
We have no guarantees when raising children, but we have some excellent guidelines.
Everyone should know about the 40 developmental assets. People who study early childhood development have identified forty practices or circumstances that must be present in order for a child to grow up confident and happy. Many are predictable: a supportive, caring environment, healthy adult models. But they also include items such as: “young person spends 3 or more hours/week in lessons or practice in music, theatre, or other arts.” And, “the young child spends time in activities that nurture spiritual development.” In other words, it’s not just a Sunday school class or a piano lesson. Arts and the spirit are basic to healthy development.
Where to learn more
To know more about the research on these assets, visit www.search-institute.org. Those who have already raised children will satisfy yourselves that you have done well by them. Those currently raising children can evaluate your practices. And if you’re in the pre-family stage, you can plan accordingly.
Children can teach us about life, for they are aware of things that we adults consider unworthy of notice. Valuing their perceptions yields rich rewards for our own growth and theirs. I share here some observations. Continue reading
- Endangered Minds (Jane Healy)
- Simplicity Parenting (Kim John Payne)
- Eats, Shoots, and Leaves (Lynn Truss)
- The Spirit of Silence and In Praise of Slow (John Lane)
- 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting (Mimi Doe)
- The Anthropology of Childhood (David Lancy)
- The Secret of Childhood, The Discovery of the Child, The Absorbent Mind (Maria Montessori)
- What Kids Need to Succeed (Peter Benson)
- Unplugged Play (Bobbi Connor)
Your Brain on Childhood (Gabrielle Principe)
All Together Singing in the Kitchen(Nerissa Nields)
Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
Music from the Trenches, or everything you need to know to ensure a rich musical life for your children (Mary Jane Wilkie)