Sunday, March 3, 2013


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I'm reading this right now on the kindle, which is very nice, on loan from the Gainesville library, which still lets up borrow things from them. Nice!

So far I've learned that telling kids they are smart does not help them.  I'd know this from previous reading.  When G was about 5 we became aware of this idea and made sure we emphasized his working to do well.  He knows he's smart, but we tell him frequently that smart is not enough if smart is lazy.  I know my family growing up really valued intelligence as an end goal.  This book mentions the idea that when a person feels their value is determined by their intelligence, they can't work hard because working hard will show that they're not smart.  Ohhh!  I totally remember thinking that I should know the material just from going to class.  Only the dumb kids needed to study.  

 Also, sleep is really important.  We have known for a long time that waking G up early is going to lead to a bad day.  Lots of crying, lots of freaking out.  So we refused to bring him to school at the normal hour.  He usually shows up around 9:30.  And apparently for teens sleep is the world.  The things they "learn" get printed to the brain in sleep.  Lots of activities and advanced classes that come at the cost of sleep, do not help them be more academically competitive.

Talking about race with kids frankly, is better for helping kids not be racist.  When parents don't talk about it, and or make it taboo, the kids segregate more.   Growing up bi-racial, I understood a lot from this chapter, but am still very hesitant talking about race myself.   2 things I remember from seeing another person raised to be racist despite having non-racist parents.  This person was in a magnet program elementary housed at a school where most of the geographically placed kids were black.  Joy, all these "smart" kids were being taught that white kids are smart and black kids are dumb, rude, etc....  This person also once said it was not fair for Chinese kids to get credit for taking Chinese at school.  Hello!  That's only not fair if it's not fair for kids whose parents speak English to get credit for taking English.  Oh, wait, THAT is unfair.

The current chapter I'm reading is on lying.  Apparently all kids lie.  In the case of lying to cover up something, it's important to punish the lie separately from the action.  Also, for kids, it's important for them to know that telling the truth makes the parents happy.  The story of George Washington and the cherry tree (which is apocryphal) has the "perfect" example for how to teach kids not to lie.  The father is sad about the tree, but happy about the truth.

I think in general it's good to teach the kids that their job is to make the parents happy.  A lot of parents think their job is to make the kids happy and then they wonder why the kids seem self centered, selfish and ungrateful...  So I think it's good for the parents, but better for the kids, to learn to find joy in bringing joy to others.

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