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Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times Paperback – October 1, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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!Read more ›
A great read, worth it for any parent, and really, anyone else. This goes way beyond education and raising kids.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this book. Its easy to read and has a contestant theme- BE KIND! Have highlighted so many amazing mantras throughoutPublished 8 months ago by MCat
This is a great read! It is inspiring my teaching. I will be giving this book as gifts to my favorite people.Published 23 months ago by Lori Williams
Loved the book. Very informative. Trying to put some of the ideas into my own life.Published 24 months ago by Anne Steeves
This book has a really lovely concept, but it is heavy reading. It doesn't flow well, I can't sit and read it for long periods of time, but I think the message inside is an... Read morePublished on September 17, 2013 by Sarah
This book has a combination of philosophical justification and useful tips for guiding children. It is not quite as user friendly as some books for parents.Published on March 6, 2012 by Anna Badger
I loved the title of this book and I was greatly looking forward to reading it based on the reviews. I am an elementary school teacher and I have three children. Read morePublished on July 24, 2011 by E. Axelina
This is a beautiful book filled with love and compassion.
It is a no nonsense, common sense book that is easy to read. Read more
This is a good book that offers a lot of solid information about raising an ethical and humane child. Read morePublished on March 15, 2009 by JDHB
First thing I did when I read this book: I contacted the author to tell her how great her book was! She responded the very next day with a very nice comment. Read morePublished on March 15, 2009 by Nolwennsarah