The Vanishing American Adult
Ben Sasse is a HILARIOUS and intelligent conservative senator from Nebraska, and this book is simply a look at raising kids who can solve problems and think rather that passively accept mediocrity and ultimately fail our democracy. His look at Dewey and how modern education as we know it came to be is pretty scathing, and I found myself agreeing deeply. He helped me see some unchallenged biases I had, and I thank him for that.
I took extensive notes on this book--so much to chew on. Once he outlines the problem facing our youth, he looks at six strategies to assist them. They are to flee age segregation, embrace work pain, consume less, travel to see, build a bookshelf and make America an idea again. I had fun in the book section dreaming up which books I would consider essential reading. Many of his family's essential books haven't been on our shelves yet so it was a fun challenge to me.
She starts off working from Wendell Berry's work and in conversation with him so I suppose Miller can't go wrong. (I still need to read The Unsettling of America.) Her book is such an interesting parallel between modern farming and modern medicine and then the innovators in both fields that are making slow headway in working with us as full, connected natural (eco)systems.
I couldn't put this book down honestly. The Jubilee Farm (biodynamic farming) was a favorite along with Myst Farm (hydrosols etc.). I greatly admire the work of Rudolf Steiner in many fields so it was neat to see some of his agricultural concepts brought out in this book. She always pairs a farm+lesson-learned with a patient/medical situation where the lesson helps solve the issue.
Secrets of Happy Families
Can you overdo notes on a book (in Evernote)? Oh boy! What a terrific use of time this Summer. Feiler put together some first-rate ideas for families here. This is one on a short list that I would give someone on the subject of general parenting/family life. Many of Feiler's suggestions are now on a list for me to incorporate slowly into our own family life, and some rang very true if we had experienced the terrain. It took me a while to read this one simply because I had so much to think about in each section, and he gave such thoughtful detail and background.
Agile development principles lead to great family meetings. Family dinners and (even silly holiday) rituals come together to help form a solid, intergenerational self (which correlates to resilience in children). Family mission statements clarify values and bring family conversations back to common ground. Managing conflict was a fairly expected chapter as was the one on communication. The Money chapter was full of fun ideas for managing kids' money with them--lots of particulars and different ideas around them. There are even chapters on sex, talking to kids about sex, and love in marriage. He brought in youth sports, home spaces, family vacations, and grandparent relationships--very thorough book. All was done with examples from experts and then in his own family experiments.
Heal Your Child from the Inside Out: The 5-Element Way to Nurturing Healthy, Happy Kids
Even if you're not a big Traditional Chinese Medicine person, you might find this book interesting and useful considering the differences in our children. Parenting more than one child always brings to light with vigor how unique they are when they come to us. They can come from the some home with the same parents and still be night and day (or in our family, fire and metal/earth). She offers insights into the kids' temperaments and helpful tips for meeting certain needs. It all rang very true with our girls. If you don't want to invest the time in the book, here's a webinar she did that highlights fundamental parts of this approach and suggestions for each type. (Her website also has a quiz you can do to determine which elements seem to to correspond to your children.)
The Blue Zones Solution
This book wasn't ground-breaking if you've already read the Blue Zones--if not, read it! It has lots of neat info about aging and feeling good past 100. It was neat to see how his info came to be full-town initiatives around the US, and he has recipes at the end of the book.
Now I have to decide what I want to read next. So many great ideas rambling for me.