Friday, June 7, 2013

Weekly Book Post (Zero Waste Home and Blessing of a Skinned Knee)


This week I've read Zero Waste Home and The Blessing of a Skinned Knee.  (Also Models of Teaching but I won't bother to review that).

Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste by Bea Johnson tells the personal story of how Johnson's family went from the typical American Dream lifestyle to a massive downsizing and as close to Zero Waste (and they get pretty close!) as they can get.  Johnson then goes through area by area of your life and gives practical tips on how to bring that area down to Zero Waste.  This begins with her general Five Steps: Refuse (what you do not need or want), Reduce (what you do need), Reuse (everything you can), Recycle (what you just couldn't reduce or reuse), and Rot (everything else).  It's a good book, and a compelling challenge.  I'll be posting more about my efforts to reduce my waste soon!

The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children by Wendy Mogel, Ph.D. is a breath of fresh air for me in the pile of parenting books out there.  Mogel is a clinical psychologist and teaches parenting classes, rooting her philosophy in Jewish Teachings.  This isn't a How-To for getting your kids to sleep through the night, or research on how to increase test scores.  Rather, Mogel focuses on reframing our view of the world, our lives, and our families.

A quote from the book:

"Unsure how to find grace and security in the complex world we've inherited, we try to fill up the spaces in our children's lives with stuff: birthday entertainments, lessons, rooms full of toys and equipment, tutors and therapists.  But material pleasures can't buy peace of mind, and all the excess leads to more anxiety - parents fear that their children will not be able to sustain this rarefied lifestyle and will fall off the mountain parents have built for them."

Mogel lays out "Blessings" that can counter this problem:

The Blessing of Acceptance

The Blessing of Having Someone to Look Up To

The Blessing of a Skinned Knee

The Blessing of Longing

The Blessing of Work

The Blessing of Food

The Blessing of Self-Control

The Blessing of Time

The Blessing of Faith and Tradition

I like the book very much, and am adding it to my "Must Have Parenting Books" shelf!

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