May 21, 2009

Bringing Up Geeks, book review

I have to admit, I wasn't really sure what to expect when I saw the title of this book.  But I figured, I have one budding "bright" child so maybe this book had something for me.  

From the website
Today's "culture of cool" has changed the way kids grow up. Rather than enjoying innocent childhoods while developing strong, authentic characters, today's kids can become cynical—even jaded—as they absorb the dangerous messages and harmful influences of a dominant popular culture that encourages materialism, high-risk behaviors, and a state of pseudo-adulthood. Author and mother of four Marybeth Hicks suggests an alternative to the culture of cool: bringing up geeks. In this groundbreaking book, she redefines geeks as Genuine, Enthusiastic, Empowered Kids and inspires parents to free themselves and their kids from cultural conditioning while instilling in their children truly important values. (Berkley Books 2008, a division of Penguin Group USA, ISBN: 9780425221563)

If you like me have read many an article that always seem to be written with one extreme view or another, let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was not like that.  Yes, Hick's view goes against some of what has become the cultural norm for us today but it's really about logical, responsible parenting.  And it's not about raising a super scholar.  It's about raising children with a love of learning that will last them a lifetime.  It's about letting kids stay kids in way many don't anymore.  And its about encouraging parents to not just go with the flow of what other parents are letting their kids do, but instead taking the time to be educated before they make decisions about what's appropriate for their kids. 
This book has something for every parent no matter the age or ability of your child.  There are tons of ideas of how to get your kids to find a passion and let them find themselves in it.  
One part that struck me in particular is where she talks about how a parents experience as a child can effect how they raise their children.  For example, as a child you were either popular or not and depending on whether you were happy or not, will effect whether you let your desire for your child to be popular sway the decisions you make.  This made me consider the fact that because I was NOT popular, I have tried to "teach" my kids to BE popular, when instead I should be teaching them to be themselves and to be happy with that!!
I particularly enjoyed Hick's honesty that showed that she was not simply a mom who had "lucked out" with well behaved book loving kids and therefor crowned herself an expert but that she had real kids who would at some points have rather played videos games or watched TV.  Personally,  I'd take advice from the mom who's been there and done that.  You know the one who gives you that understanding look while your child has a full blown tantrum at the park because you won't let them take off their shirt when its 50 degrees.  And instead of acting like her children would NEVER have done such a thing, she actually attempts to make you feel better.  That's was the feeling I got from this book.  It was about helpful advice, not judgment/condemnation. 
Unless you're a super brainiac who has it all perfectly figured out (in which case, I'm wondering, why are you reading MY blog?) then I guarantee there's something in this book for you!!

A trailer for the book:


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an interesting read - thanks for the review!


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