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Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times Paperback – October 1, 2003


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Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times + Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life + The Power and Promise of Humane Education
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865714932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865714939
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #914,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Zoe Weil is on the faculty of the University of Maine and Cambridge College, and is President of the International Institute for Humane Education which offers the only comprehensive M.Ed. degree and certificate program in humane education in the U.S. As director of Animalearn -- an animal protection organization -- for seven years, she pioneered the development of humane education, reaching tens of thousands of students annually. A frequent speaker at conferences around the U.S. and abroad, she lives in Surry, Maine.

More About the Author

Zoe Weil is the President of the Institute for Humane Education, and the author of several books for students, educators and parents including So, You Love Animals. Claude and Medea is Weil's first foray into fiction.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 19 customer reviews
Fast forward a couple of years, and this book is EXACTLY what I need.
Learning All The Time
Above All, Be Kind helps parents raise and enjoy more thoughtful, caring, grounded children who can go beyond the latest fad to value what's really important in life.
cgins
Being a teacher myself I would like to recommend this book as a must read for teachers and parents alike.
Carolin B.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Melanie on March 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
It's not an easy task to raise compassionate, non-materialistic, and socially conscious children in today's prevailing culture. Above All, Be Kind is a guidebook for parents trying to do just that.
Author Zoe Weil is the co-founder of the International Institute for Humane Education, an organization that teaches young people about more humane ways of living and about how our daily choices impact the world for ill or good. She says living in humane ways is all about living up to the highest human qualities.
Weil gives examples of situations parents will likely encounter with their children ("What do you do when your son asks for a toy gun?" "What do you do when you find pornography in your teen's room?") and how parents can handle those situations with wisdom.
In segments called "Did you know?" she reveals disturbing facts about hot button social issues such as factory farming, sweatshop clothing, and child-targeted advertising. Besides documenting the facts about those issues, Weil takes the process a step further with pages called "Let Kindness Grow," which offer suggestions about what we can do to make more humane choices in relation to each issue.
The most important message in the book is to parents themselves. It is the mantra "My life is my message," which Weil says she has used many times to check her own behavior. The Ghandian quote reminds parents that we cannot expect our children to walk any path that we ourselves are not willing or able to walk.
To that end, Weil lays out a four-step plan she calls the "Four Elements" that can help readers come to a right action for themselves or help their children make about any choice.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Learning All The Time on July 9, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is actually my second time reading this book. The first time through, I was primarily looking for ideas to make my household a bit more peaceful, and while I found the book interesting, it didn't address my specific concerns about sibling rivalry and bickering.

Fast forward a couple of years, and this book is EXACTLY what I need. The idea of trying to live humanely and kindly, each and every day, and to extend the concept beyond one's nuclear family to the world at large (and to all living things for that matter), really resonates right now. Zoe Weil talks about the importance of our actions. Having a sense of compassion combined with a sense that our actions DON'T matter can lead to dispair. Having a sense of materialism combined with a sense that our actions don't matter can lead to exploitation of people and resources.

Anyway, the book does discuss how to empower children to consciously choose humane, compassionate choices. Zoe's approach is highly facilitative rather than dictatorial. She says it is important to:

1. provide information

2. teach critical thinking

3. instill reverence, respect, and responsibility

4. offer positive choices

And there are many examples of how to put this in practice, particularly for children in the middle and teen years.

One of my favorite chapters is chapter 3, "Your Life is Your Message". Zoe says, "I'm very aware of the fact that each of us will be faced with emotions and circumstances that compete with our desire to make the most humane choices." She talks about how difficult it is to be a good role model for our children ALL the time. We will fail - we're human!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on June 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
Many school teachers will tell you that parents will complain to them that their children don't read at home. The teacher then always asks, 'well, how much do you read?' And the answer usually comes back, 'I don't. What does that have to do with it?' Our children do follow our models, whether we think they do or not. And to really provide a good role model requires hard, hard work, and thinking about it, every day, every second. Instead, we all have a tendency to mouth platitudes and give lectures.
A great read, worth it for any parent, and really, anyone else. This goes way beyond education and raising kids.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
Above All Be Kind caught me off guard with its parenting advice. I have read lots of parenting books and was expecting the usual info about being kind, as in, be nice to your kids. Instead, this book inspired me to see myself and my kids as citizens of the planet; making decisions based on what the world needs not just what we personally need -- a whole new way of thinking about what we as a family eat, buy, wear. I've never written a review before, but I was blown away by the message of this book: we can help shape a peaceful world by mindfully tending to the decisions we make in our daily job as parents. Bravo!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Carolin B. on January 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Above All Be Kind" is a wonderful book for anybody who cares deeply about the future of our children. Being a teacher myself I would like to recommend this book as a must read for teachers and parents alike. The book reminds us what is really important in life. It invites us to raise our children to become compassionate and caring people who understand and welcome their responsibility for our Earth and all living beings.
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