Monday, September 17, 2012

Renegade Rules


I have watched and listened to my friend Heather carry an idea—a dream—from its earliest beginnings to a full-fledged book over the past few years.  And now the parenting world is abuzz with talk about It's Okay Not to Share. . . and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids.

We went to see Heather in action yesterday—talking about her book at our local bookstore—and I was reminded of how eloquent and wise she truly is.  Her book is a treasure.  And it's really not so "renegade" as it may first appear.  The book is full of good common sense, practical advice, and helpful suggestions for parents of young children everywhere.  There are many real life stories tucked inside (and if you are really perceptive you may be able to identify the alias of my own child, woven into some of its pages!). 

I think my personal favorite "rule" in Heather's book is the very first one, Don't Steal Play.  In this chapter, she explains simply and clearly why it is so important not to rush kids into academic learning before ages six or seven.  This is a subject near and dear to my heart.  After reading her chapter again, I found myself wondering what she would say about the importance of play after age seven?  Does its role diminish, shift, or perhaps even deepen?

I also get a big kick out of Rule 27: Be Buddies with Dead Birds.  As a mother of two children who like to investigate dead creatures, I was very reassured by Heather's calm voice: "It's not morbid for children to wonder about death.  It's healthy and normal."  I'll keep her helpful reminders in mind the next time we go out to bury one of Miss Mitty's deceased prizes (i.e., mouse, mole, chipmunk, squirrel).

Heather's work as a writer and her words as a friend have inspired me so very much over the past few years.  And as a "parent test reader" for some of Heather's early chapters, I can't tell you how thrilled I am to see her vision come to fruition!


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