It has been more than a month since I finished reading Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman (published 1998). By waiting to write my thoughts, I may not have as many specific examples and quotes to share with my readers. However, by letting the book percolate in my mind as I went about my life, I can even better declare that Gottman’s slim volume is a helpful and essential reminder of the role of parents in the lives of young children.
While parents and teachers often devote lots of time to teaching academics and well rounded activities (from music to athletics), how often have parents considered the ways they are helping their children develop emotional intelligence? In a world were people are increasingly pulled in a variety of directions, the ability to regulate emotions and control one self in a complicated world is essential. Gottman’s book helps me see my opportunities for teaching my kids. It also gives me realistic ways to implement the teaching of emotional strength. (more…)
It’s interesting how a year and a half changes one’s perspective. In the early fall of 2010, I read a wonderful nonfiction examination of how parents can help children embrace imagination. Revisiting Awakening Children’s Minds: How Parents and teachers Can Make a Difference by Laura Berk (2001, Oxford University Press) provided me with some necessary reminders in the how to’s and why’s behind parenting a young child that is becoming an intelligent and creative individual. Rereading the book gave me encouragement as a parent. I am immensely glad I revisited it: I see it from a new perspective. (more…)
Whenever I read a novel with stunning writing, I am always reminded why I seek novels with great writing to begin with. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (first published 1940) is one such novel. It is deceptively simple in its plot, dialog, and sentence structure. I felt I was there.
For Whom the Bell Tolls drew me into the middle of the Spanish Civil War. I felt the fear of mistrust, the pain of injuries, and a certain degree of hopelessness, as must be present during preparations for an offensive battle. But on top of the magnificent writing, Hemingway gave an insightful look into living life to its fullest for as long as you have to do so. Given its publication just before a major world war, For Whom the Bell Tolls must have resonated strongly with its first readers. (more…)
It’s been a long time since I’ve written about my son’s books. Since I’m reading longer novels myself this month, I’ll use this opportunity to jump in and say something about what we’ve been reading together.
I’ve been skimming over The ABCs of Literacy (reviewed here; that book inspired my 1000 Books Project) for ideas on helping use books as a tool in my sons’ stage of life and learning, and some of Ms. Dollins’ ideas have been very successful for us. I am not using books as a “preschool” curriculum or anything of the sort: I’ve just been trying to think out of the box and applying the books to my sons’ needs more than I had in the past. And we’ve both, I believe been enjoying that approach.
In The Masterpiece, Zola captures the pain of creation, as he claimed himself:
I want to depict the artists’ struggle with reality, the sheer effort of creation which goes into every work of art, the blood and tears involved in giving one’s flesh, in trying to make something that lives. (Introduction to Oxford World Classics edition, page ix.)
In telling the story of the doomed Claude Lantier, Zola does capture a painful side to creation. As a self-absorbed painter, Claude is unable to see beyond his skewed perception of the world, since he sees all through the eyes of his “impressionistic” painting style. (Although Zola does not use the word “impressionism,” it is clear that such is the era of art.)
I didn’t enjoy reading the story, but I certainly appreciated it as a whole. Zola shows a realistic disconnect for people who struggle with a vision, and I felt like I was glancing at real lives between the pages of the novel. (more…)