Respected journalist and author of 5 books, Melissa Fay Greene’s newest book is a funny and honest look at one family’s adventures in adopting five older children. Why would a well-off Jewish couple with four birth children even think about adding five children to their family?
This unique family is worth reading about as they navigate the sometimes rocky road of adopting older children from orphanages in Bulgaria and Ethiopia. Two-time National Book Award finalist Greene has been praised for her “writerly passion for the beauty of language.”
As a survivor of three international adoptions of older children myself, this book certainly resonated with me. But any parent can relate to the often bizarre wonders of family life shared here! I laughed until I cried reading about the tricycle loaded with teenagers careening through the house, the former child shepherd’s amazing ability to spear Frisbees in mid air, the squirrels on the head, the physical fisticuffs and the tough love in this family.
Read this or other similar books? Let us know; feel free to comment.
Asian Heritage Month
I went into this book knowing the criticisms and critiques, and all out ranting from some readers. Amy Chua’s third book focuses on her methods of raising her two daughters according to the Chinese standards she was raised by. Throughout the book she makes comparisons between Eastern and Western parenting techniques, explaining her parenting, which some readers may have considered abusive, if not extremely strict.
Chua’s memoir is honest and compelling, and doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. Chua expected the best from her children and expected that they would do the work to get there, even if that meant three hours of piano practice after a full day of school and homework, whether they liked it or not.
At some points I agreed with Chua’s methods wholeheartedly, although I don’t know if I contain the strength of will to carry out on such rigid standards. At times I thought her out of line, but that is the beauty of this book – it evokes strong emotions from the reader, both good and bad.
Her illustrations of both of her daughters is rich, and I can almost feel them glaring out of the book, looking for acknowledgment and agreement or sympathy right from me. I would be terribly interested to see a follow-up piece from the Chua daughters, an answer to their mother’s battle hymn.
Whether you agree or disagree with the generally high standards Eastern parents tend to place on their children and their education and musical feats, this book is must read just to understand the mindset of one such Eastern parent.
Have you read this book? Comments are welcome!
What DOES every 21st Century parent need to know about parenting? According to author Debra Haffner, the context for parenting may have changed over the years, but the basics of parenting remain the same. Dismissing the popular notion that contemporary parenting is more difficult and more stressful than before, Haffner points readers toward the timeless wisdom necessary for all parenting eras. While she describes some new challenges of the 21st Century environment, like technology, social networks, stress levels, and many techniques to deal with them, what is most valuable is her emphasis on the spiritual development of children. This is something not commonly found in parenting texts.
Medical specialists approach parenting from a physiological standpoint. Psychologists apply therapeutic methods. Management gurus tend to advocate techniques such as time management and the need to have balanced approaches. Not Haffner. She writes not only as an educator but as a concerned parent. In a very holistic manner, she argues for affirmative parenting style as the preferred approach, in contrast to the authoritarian, the permissive or the uninvolved styles. Along with the affirmative style, she underlines the importance of parents being strategically involved in the child’s spiritual growth.
Chapter 10 is worth the price of the book, where she introduces a fresh look at how to influence the child’s spiritual development with the model of the Mensch, or spiritual modeling. While I do not share all of her theological beliefs, there is still much to learn from her book. In a nutshell, the way forward in 21st Century parenting is to help the child discover his or her calling. Through faith and belief, the child will then be able to grow and deal with the ups and downs of life. I suppose even parents can benefit by applying this to themselves.
A longer version of this review is available on the reviewer’s own blog found on Blogger.
Please feel free to comment on this review.