Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Well- Behaved Child by John Rosemond

As a member of the Thomas Nelson Review Blogger program , I had the privilege of reviewing John Rosemond’s parenting book, The Well- Behaved Child.
Of all the parenting/ child rearing books on the market today, Rosemond’s strategies, based on traditional common sense, have been the most enlightening. This book is based on the basic premise that children, by nature are prone to misbehave, and therefore require a parent to understand, address and discipline such issues so as to raise happy, well adjusted children. In fact, he states on page two, “the incontrovertible badness of children is why it takes most of two decades to fully socialize them. This badness is the reason for this book.” Firstly, before anything else, a parent must understand the basic antisocial, selfish tendency of a child, and address it- rather than dismiss or rationalize it.
This book dispels common child rearing myths which prevail in today’s society. For example, he advocates leadership rather than ineffective reasoning. The parent is the authority figure and does not have to justify his/ her actions to a child. The parent need not and should not engage in debates or bargaining with a child also referred to as the “short and sweet” principal. Rosemond is a proponent of the effectiveness of “reverse psychology”. Contrary to popular opinion, what works to train a dog will not work for a child. Behavior modification is simply ineffective and temporary. Furthermore offering rewards in exchange for positive behavior is just a short term solution and in the long run, it just promotes the cycle of manipulation and control the child has over the parent and authority in general. “Reward- based discipline …. teach[es] children how to manipulate parents [teaching] that misbehavior and underachievement are the tickets to getting special privileges”. P 17 Additionally, time-outs are simply ineffective, akin to “trying to fend off a charging elephant with a flyswatter”. P 13 These are just a few examples of some of the parenting techniques and philosophies.
Using relevant case studies, and summing up basic strategies and principals, positive and effective parenting strategies are offered in this book in an easy to understand format. I would recommend this book to any parent who wishes to raise a responsible and well adjusted child.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kabul24 By Henry O. Arnold and Ben Pearson

Kabul24, is the true life story of the hostages whose only “crimes” were their selfless humanitarian efforts accomplished via the Shelter Now International (SNI) humanitarian efforts. These courageous hostages were guilty of no crimes and deprived of basic human dignities and rights, simply because they were a perceived threat of the evil and corrupt Taliban Regime. Betrayed by the very people they sought to help, in a world where the threat of arrest, coercion, blackmail, torture and death loom, these men and women of the SNI were deprived of their rights, and thrown into jail cells.

Fear of torture and death as well as the on-going inhumane conditions of filth, squalor and deprivation, was their “reward” for dedicating their lives to humanitarian efforts to improve the lives and conditions of men, women and children. Despite the months of imprisonment, and the phony charges and mock trials, their faith in God did not waiver.

This is the day to day, behind the scenes story that was not depicted on TV or in the newspaper. From the dramatic and ominous unfolding of events prior to their arrest, to the imprisonment and ongoing fears of facing an uncertain future, to the abrupt and joyful release, the reader can follow the unfolding of events from start to finish! Arnold and Pearson vividly capture the rush of emotions experienced by these captives as well as the heroism. As a member of the Thomas Nelson Blogger Program, I recommend this book to anyone who wish to get more insight and inspiration and to see the real live people behind the story of the Taliban Kidnapping of the SNI hostages.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Everyday Greatness By Stephen R. Covey

As a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program I had the opportunity to review Stephen R. Covey’s compendium of moral inspirational stories, Everyday Greatness.

Covey’s book is like a textbook in morals. Moral values are categorized and explicitly described via real life stories which serve as examples or case studies. Morals are grouped together in sections. Each section begins with a brief introduction- the style is reminiscent to the learning goals which can be found in an elementary text book prior to each new unit. For each moral topic, there is a short summary in an easy to digest format called the “Wrap Up” and “Reflections” at the end of each chapter. Also included are relevant quotations from a colorful assortment of literary, political and religious figures.

While not explicitly biblical, the humanistic moral values within the pages are not offensive and are compatible with Christianity nonetheless. The book draws upon the worldly wisdom of philosophers and other assorted well known figures ranging from Nietzsche, Tom Hanks, Ghandi and Mother Theresa to John McCain and George Bush.
Perhaps this book is most useful as a starting point to introduce non religious readers and non Christians to basic moral values.

This book is not to be used explicitly as a Christian resource but rather as a generic, secular resource for anyone wishing to strive for a moral life. This book is a good instruction manual on general moral values and good citizenship. It is clear that this ambitious piece of work represents a lot of research and hard work on the part of Stephen R. Covey. The books weakness in promoting the Christian faith and biblical values serves as a great strength as well as it is an effective resource to draw the interest of a secular audience. Nevertheless as a Christian, I would have liked to see more biblical quotes and biblical wisdom along side the secular quotes and secular wisdom.