I am not a big fan of books on parenting skills and never have been. While I consider myself a crazed learner, I have never found this genre (if you can call it that!) very compelling. Most often the things authors mention are pretty much common sense. After all, can’t most parenting be done well if one has a good measure of common sense?
Several things about NurtureShock drew my attention when I saw it in the airport bookstore. First, the title reminded me of Alvin Toffler’s book, Future Shock, and that was a pretty provocative and stimulating book. Second, the subtitle of the book is “New Thinking About Children.” Huh, I thought, that is a pretty bold claim—how much new thinking can there be about children? They have been around a pretty long time and the topic has been pretty well researched! Third, I saw a recommendation by one of my favorite authors, Daniel Pink, who wrote the very interesting book, A Whole New Mind. He claimed to be impressed by the “prodigious research and keen analysis.” He called it “one of the most important books you will read this year.” Hmm … what about the chapter titles? One look and I was ready to pull out the credit card—research on the inverse power of praise, sleep, racial awareness, rebellion, self-control, siblings—these were all things I had read and thought about as an educator and parent. What had the authors found out about these things by approaching it from a research-based position? And by the way, who were the authors? Well, actually they had won awards from prestigious groups for their previous work in the field. I bought the book and promptly read it on the long flight home.
I am always ready to rethink sacred cows, even without much research behind the discussion! How do sacred cows become sacred cows? In the area of raising children, has there been a “wisdom of the crowds” that has been passed down to us from previous generations? As a Christian, don’t I believe that God has equipped parents with the right instincts for raising children well?