Sunday, December 27, 2009

365 Perfect Things to Say to Your Kids by Maureen Healy

365 Perfect Things to Say to Your Kids by Maureen Healy
(Parenting/Child Development)

Everyone knows that in order for a child to grow up strong, healthy, and intelligent he needs to be well taken care of in the physical and mental sense. There should be shelter, appropriate clothes, healthy foods, and education. But what if these physical and mental things were the only aspects of a child's development we, as parents, paid attention to? What if we were to give our child everything in the way of food, clothes, protection, and education but never take the time to build them up emotionally? What would happen if a child's emotional well being fell to the wayside and was never nutured or encouraged?

In a perfect world no child would go without any of the above, yet unfortunately in today's busy society there are many parents/grandparents/educators who overlook the importance of an emotional upbringing. Every child should live a rewarding life. In order to make this more a reality than just an idea, it is important for parents to empower, educate, and inspire their offspring. Through open lines of communication and a parenting style that comes from the heart, we as parents can not only impact our children in the here and now but forever through the words and teachings we instill in them. For words hurt and words heal. It's all in the way you use them.

Shakespeare once wrote, "The voice of parents is the voice of gods; for their children they are heaven's lieutenants." Buddha is quoted as having said, "Whatever words we utter should be chose with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill." That is to say, what we put in to our children emotionally is going to come out of them ten fold. If we work to influence their emotional beings through uplifting and encouraging conversations and dialogue we stand a chance of not only teaching our children social and emotional intelligences but also of creating in them more rounded, joyful, compassionate, and confident adults.

In her book, 365 Perfect Things to Say to Your Kids Maureen Healy shows in length just how many ways parents can incite their children and help make them more emotionally aware, insightful, and happy. Written in a list format, Healy's book is broken down in to three main segments: EMPOWERING (Where "your child gains: courage, confidence, optimism, connection, and self-trust.") , EDUCATING (Where "your child learns about: emotional awareness, social and service learning, ethical living, and universal truths."), and INSPIRING (Where "your child connects with his or her: inspiration, imagination, creativity, love of nature, art, and spirit."). In each she lists many suggested conversation starters that a parent can use to create a exchange with his or her child(ren). Many are thought provoking on a child's level, but many seem a little cheesy. I guess in that regard, this is one of those books you must pick and choose from. Not everything will work for everyone, yet I'm sure each person who reads this book will be able to pick out several key elements they find beneficial and helpful on some level.

I have to admit that my first impression of Maureen's book wasn't exactly the best. Truth be told, I thought a lot of her suggested conversation starters were just corny and sometimes lame. I get what she was trying to achieve through them; they just, unfortunately, did not all resonate for me. Also I could sense a strong new agey, Buddist vibe in a lot, though not all, of the author's writing. This is not surprising because she openly mentioned, on one of the first pages of this book, her ties to the Buddist and New Age movements. For some this won't be an issue. For me, however, as Christian it was a little too much. I want the best for my children just as much as the next mother, maybe even more, but I don't buy in to a lot of the "the universal harmony" crap that goes along with either of the aforementioned belief systems.

I don't want that to sound like I'm completely tearing down Healy's book, because that would be completely false. I do, again, think that there are quite a few really good thought provoking sayings in this book. Just to name a few from each section...

In the section on EMPOWERING-

#7 The Best (found on page 15)
"Ordering the best from life and expecting it often returns just that- THE BEST. So enjoy looking for the best in your SELF and OTHERS because soon the best starts looking for you."

#17 Everyday (found on page 17)
"You are loved every minute of every day in every way! I love you. God loves you. Your angels surround you and protect you on your way. There is nothing to fear as you let God steer. Enjoy being surrounded by UNIVERSAL love from above."

#35 Never Give Up (found on page 22)
"Never ever give up! Life has some bumps and bruises, ups and downs, highs and lows but never, ever GIVE UP. Being able to hang on and not give up is a GIFT to yourself that you are STRONG, CAPABLE and WILLING to see life through. Plus there are rewards coming to you."

In the section on EDUCATING-

#129 Happy Wishes (found on page 53)
"Everyone is the same. We all want happiness and to avoid pain. This truth connects every person. No matter what is occurring in life- look past the surface and see every person wants to feel happy. Even the grumpy teacher!"

#131 No Better (found on page 54)
"There is no better. Each of us is UNIQUE and SPECIAL. No one is better than anyone else. Every person has gifts that are being birthed within them. EVERY MINUTE. Respect the blossoming of everyone's gifts equally."

#150 Patience (found on page 58)
"Patients are not just for doctors! It is the ability to rest in knowing all is well, others can go first, and you can happily wait your turn. There is not RUSH in life. All the best things are coming to you so just be happy and let them SHOW UP right on time."

In the section on INSPIRING-

#298 Fully You (found on page 101)
"I want you to be FULLY you in everything you do! So enjoy discovering your self, taking your talents off the shelf and being fully the wonderful you. What do you fully want to do?"

#332 No Ordinary (found on page 109)
"There are no ordinary moments! Every second is special. Even if you are picking your nose or wiggling your toes! God is here, there and everywhere. So see the DIVINE light shining everywhere even at night."

#357 Seeds (found on page 115)
"Today's seeds are tomorrow's flowers. You can plant seeds and watch flowers rise up from the dirt. Or you can plant kind words and see all kind words spring up all around you! What type of seeds are you planting now?"

The above is just a taste of what readers can expect to find between the pages of Healy's new release, 365 Perfect Things to Say to Your Kids. I'll repeat that while I don't particular love every saying in this book, I do agree that there are some really great ones to be found. I think the author did a good job of structuring her writing so a young child can easily understand most, if not all, of the 365 sayings. Her simple wording and catchy rhyming text is undoubtedly one of the key componants that will help younger readers commit Healy's "truths" to memory. And while I probably wouldn't use the book in the fashion the author indicated, I would probably use it to get suggestions for cute notes lunchbox notes that I could send to school with my 6 year old daughter.

NOTE: Interested parties can look for this book on shelves next mont, January 2010.

Thanks to Maureen for allowing me this review opportunity!

~Bookish Mom, aka RebekahC

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