January is coming to a close and my reading is off to a good start with five books finished. I started the month with an introduction to a young author who writes fiction in the fantasy-Christian genre, if there is such a thing. Her writing is stylistically similar to The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and she has also been likened to George Macdonald (who happens to be one of my parents favorite authors, but I have never read his books).
Rachel Starr Thomson writes in a captivating way that really held my attention and sparked my imagination, which I appreciate, and she's Canadian! I don't read a lot of fiction, so I think her books are worth reading because I kept wanting to read more.
This month I read Exile and Hive from The Oneness Cycle series (there are 5 books in the series), an allegory titled Journey, and finally the first book in The Seventh World trilogy, Worlds Unseen.
I enjoyed The Oneness Cycle books, but there were a few times I got a little lost in the story. I do hope to complete the whole series as I have time. My favorite book so far was Worlds Unseen. The writing is beautiful and I spent an entire Saturday shirking my mom duties to finish. Journey was written in a similar style to Pilgrim's Progress. It was a quick read, really more of a short story than a novel, that uses prose to describe the christian walk.
After I exhausted my free downloads from Rachel Starr Thomson, I headed to my local library and picked up a book that has been on my to read list for a while: The Collapse of Parenting by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D.
On occasion Daniel and I will discuss our parenting, and we wonder if we are doing it right. Are we teaching our kids the right things? We don't want them to grow up to feel entitled to anything. We want them to be respectful and kind to everyone. We want them to work hard and earn their own successes. Obviously there is more than that, but these are a few of the things that we discuss.
The Collapse of Parenting makes me think we are doing fine in our parenting efforts. Dr. Sax puts an emphasis on teaching children respect by being an authority in their lives, he stresses the importance of family meals as often as possible together, and reminds parents to limit technology and put down the phones. He also discusses the propensity of American parents to defer to teachers and doctors who tend to over-medicate children in an attempt to get the kids to behave. He says Americans, in particular, have adopted a pass the buck mentality – parents aren't willing to discipline, teachers are limited on how much they can discipline, and doctors are willingly prescribing strong drugs to keep the kids in line.
I thought the book was a good read, and definitely had excellent points throughout. As for our parenting, I think a lot of what we do as parents is in line with the suggestions that Dr. Sax makes in his book.
A few passages that stuck out to me:
The right kind of humility helps you to recognize your own shortcomings. To be better prepared. To understand the risks. And to take those risk courageously, when necessary.
The antidote to the culture of bloated self-esteem is the culture of humility... The culture of humility leads to gratitude, appreciation, and contentment. The key to lasting happiness is contentment.
Train up your child in the way they should go, and when they grow up and move away from home, you will have improved the odds (paraphrase of one of the Proverbs)... There are no guarantees. But the research strongly suggests that if you instill habits of good behavior and self-control in your son or daughter throughout childhood and adolescence, then you have improved the odds that your child will continue to do the right thing after leaving home.
At some level... many Americans... have accepted the idea that the primary purpose of K-12 schooling... is to get accepted into a selective college... That's a mistake. The primary purpose of education should be to prepare for life, not for more school... The skills needed to get into a top university are not the same as those needed for a successful life...