I am very pleased to announce that I have published a new Kindle book called Easy Ways To Teach Kids Hard Things : The fun way to teach your children important life principles ($1.99 on Amazon). In it, I distill the parenting knowledge I’ve acquired over the years as I’ve worked my way towards raising children who are truly decent, principled human beings. Or, as I say in the introduction:
This short book summarizes what I’ve learned over the years as I’ve worked to cultivate my children’s personalities, their values, and their practical approach to life. It won’t tell you how many minutes a time-out should last or what type of punishment you should give a child who hits. Instead, it will share a life philosophy that I’ve applied to my parenting, one that has resulted in my having children who respect me and who frequently tell me that their friends think I’m the coolest parent around (and that’s not because I’m a pushover).
Parenting in the twenty-first century, while less physically debilitating than ever before, is still hard work. Popular culture and myriad advice books tell us that we’re no longer responsible just for feeding and sheltering our children or for teaching them the basic principles and rules that enable them to function as decent adults. Instead, we’re responsible for turning our children into adults who are practically perfect in every way. To that end, we have to be endlessly hands-on; relentlessly consistent; perfectly behaved ourselves (we are, after all, role models); and completely in sync with modern educational techniques.
In theory, these are all excellent ideas, especially the consistency bit. In practice, they are exhausting, demoralizing and, sometimes, as is true for so many things when the perfect becomes the enemy of the good, counterproductive. Parents who are too hands-on deprive their children of opportunities to make their own decisions or stand up for themselves; and parents who believe they are actually capable of being perfect are either delusional or heading for a nervous breakdown.
After struggling for too many years to be the perfect parent, I gave up and settled for being a pretty darn good parent. My philosophy is that, whether I am sharing my values with my children, helping them with their school work, or generally giving them tips about navigating their way through the world, if I hew to a few basic principles, rather than following dozens, or even hundreds, of modern parenting rules, parenting is less work and more fun. Happily, once I stopped trying so hard to control every aspect of my children’s lives, and started focusing more attention on overarching principles, not only did parenting get easier, my children also became nicer people.
With my approach, you get to ignore your children occasionally, talk a blue streak about the things that matter to you, and dazzle the children with your brilliance. While your children will not instantly become rocket scientists or even the best-behaved kids in your community, they will listen to and like you more because you’re interesting and helpful. They will also be more self-sufficient and, with luck, have a strong moral compass and analytical abilities that enable them to deal with many of the difficult situations life places in their paths.
As for why I am qualified to offer this kind of advice even though I’m neither a trained child psychologist nor a credentialed educator, the short answer is that I’ve trained in the trenches, not in graduate seminars. My children are decent people who manage simultaneously to like and respect me. They’re not perfect – far from it – but I can honestly say that they are good people in the areas that count. On any issue, even if their judgment is immature, their moral instincts are spot on. My kids are also good students, which is a testament not only to their discipline and intelligence but (as they will freely concede) to the practical tips and insights I’ve given them over the years.
The foundation I’ve put in place is what informs my children’s decision-making, both practical and moral. I’ve actually put my theories into practice and seen them work.
There’s one other reason I feel qualified to write this book. Without fail, every time I’ve offered my children the advice I’ve set out here or explained to them the principles I apply to parenting, one or the other has said “Mom, you should write a book.” So I did.
Those who find themselves responsible for raising children in today’s world might find this book quite useful — or at least they’ll find it interesting and thought-provoking. It’s especially help for people who are trying to raise principled conservative children in a world that sees the two greatest influences on our children (that would public schools and Hollywood) deluge our children with a non-stop barrage of Progressive lessons. My child-rearing suggestions let you arm your children with behavioral and analytical skills that help them stay true to core moral and ethical principles, no matter what messages come their way.
I’m also happy to announce that, starting on October 15 and running through October 19, you can download for free the Kindle edition of my earlier book, The Bookworm Turns: A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land. The Bookworm Turns is a collection of essays I wrote between 2007 and 2011. Surprisingly (to me, at least), it’s still timely. Barack Obama is still campaigning as if it’s 2008, the media is still biased, education is still geared towards turning out knee-jerk little Leftists, Hollywood still hates conservatives, Israel is still in the cross hairs (only more so), and our military is still getting the job done. If you haven’t already gotten around to buying The Bookworm Turns for yourself, or if you’d like to give it as a gift to a friend, now’s the time.
What people have said about Bookworm’s writing and about The Bookworm Turns:
“Bookworm has become one of my favorite bloggers. She lives in California and writes on intellectual and domestic political issues, always with a fresh angle.” — Barry Rubin
“Reading Bookworm’s essays is like intellectual chocolate – highly addicting, except it expands your mind instead of your waistline!” — JoshuaPundit
“I’ve been a follower of Bookworm for years and am reading the book now. Her writing is thoughtful, smart, and always entertaining.” — Right Truth
“One of the best blogs out there is the Bookworm Room – no question. Trust me on this one – I have seen hundreds, maybe thousands come and go since I came online in 2001. I became friends with Bookie in an online forum years ago and I have voraciously read her posts at every opportunity. Witty, intelligent, reflective and often touching, her writings are what we all aspire to accomplish – a connection with others out there and a gift that we wield to express our thoughts in a manner that encourages others to do the same. [snip] Bookie has just put together an e-book on her posts that have occurred over time. It is some of the best writing you will ever read. Riveting and compelling, it is absolutely addictive.” — Noisy Room
“I just purchased your book. I haven’t been able to put it down since downloading it last night. *** Thank you for such thoughtful, passionate and elegant writing, and for putting it out there in book form.” — Another secret conservative living in the deep blue.
“Yes, I’m 12% in already, have highlighted several passages, and am thoroughly enjoying it. Woo-hoo!” — elc
“Bookie is a friend but that’s not why I am recommending this read. I am recommending it because it is an interesting look into the world of a San Francisco Liberal who found conservative values. That is exceptional enough to deserve your attention.” — Pierre’s Pink Flamingo Bar
“I got it and I am enjoying reading it very much! Congratulations!” — D Wheeler
“I am working my way through my Kindle copy and savoring every word. Very entertaining and easy read with great personal narratives. It entertains, illuminates and instructs but does not hector. I shall put this on my Christmas list for my Lefty friends.” Danny Lemieux
“I started the book last night, and it is fabulous. I am about 1/3 the way through and can’t put it down…you are an outstanding writer with such incisive arguments! I am going to let my friends know that they should order a copy. *** It is a wonderful read…and I mean that….it should be a NYT best seller!!” Michelle F., Houston Texas
When I stumbled across Bookworm Room in the vast blogosphere of political chatter and rants, I knew I had found something special. The first post I read was thoughtful, passionate, intelligent and eloquent – all at the same time, and I began to find myself being drawn back again and again to see what Bookworm might be thinking about any number of the political events that had occurred during the week. Soon Bookworm had a place on my browser toolbar with the handful of other websites that have earned a place there.
Part of the reason that I found myself drawn to Bookworm was because I, too, live and work in an environment where conservatism must be suppressed due to very real fears of being blacklisted both socially and in the workplace. However, the main reason I keep returning to Bookworm is to read her brilliant analyses of the continual problems that face us as individuals and as a nation.
I downloaded this book as soon as I found it and was delighted to find that it was absolutely packed with essays on so many subjects that matter. Nothing gets a light going-over from Bookworm. Every topic is placed under her analytic microscope and examined thoroughly and thoughtfully. One of the most fascinating things to me is Bookworm’s ability to explain how and why liberals think about certain things, which she is able to do enormously well because of her own former liberalism combined with her deep curiosity about how and why people believe what they believe.
I have found myself passing along more than one of Bookworm’s proposed solutions to the problems of the day, from her brilliant idea for what tax-payer-funded tuition in the UC system should buy, to her desire to abandon the terms Left and Right for the more descriptive terms of Statist and Individualist, respectively.
If you want to read elegant, passionate, meticulously-thought-out insights about politics and other things, you will not be disappointed by this book. For the price, it is an absolute steal. I only wish that every liberal I know would read this book – but you will have to read this book to find out why it is not likely that any of them will!
Please keep it coming, Bookworm! — W. Maite