Read The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children by Wendy Mogel Free Online
Book Title: The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 952 KB
ISBN 13: 9780142196007
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Reader ratings: 3.8
The author of the book: Wendy Mogel
Edition: Penguin Books
Date of issue: November 1st 2001
Read full description of the books:
When Dr. Mogel, a clinical psychologist, decided - after marriage and two children - to embrace her religious heritage, one of the outcomes was this book. She impressively combines Jewish teachings with old school common sense and "progressive" values.
This is one of the best parenting books I've come across. Mogel places a lot of emphasis on the parent taking a look at their own behavior and correcting dysfunctional patterns, establishing order, being consistent, acting with authority and self-restraint over themselves, and so on. Straight forward, easy to read, well-organized, well-written, with practical examples for how to implement the various lessons. It covers executive functioning, simplicity, discipline, balancing safety with freedom, over scheduling, food pickiness, and other hot button parenting issues in its own way.
The first blessing chapter, "The Blessing of a Unique and Ordinary Child" is all about humbling the parent reader, as she warns us against common parenting mindsets that can be disastrous for our children (e.g. living through our children, trying to force them to fulfill visions of who we think they are, pressuring them to succeed at everything). My favorite line from this section is, "Your child is not your masterpiece."
In addition to that one, the chapters I found most relevant and useful in my personal family situation were "Blessing of Work" (chores), "Blessing of Food," and "Blessing of Self-Control."
In "Blessing of Work," she writes: "... when parents insist that children do their chores, they are letting them know that they're not just loved, they are needed. Ordinary chores are the foundation of our children's character and spiritual well-being."
In "Blessing of Food," she advocates moderation and celebration, and provides lots of advice for how to make mealtimes opportunities for sanctifying and expressing gratitude, rather than thoughtless, embattled, or shameful experiences.
"Blessing of Self-Control" is EXCELLENT. She provides specific guidance on how to rebuke or punish a child without humiliation, AND also how to assess whether a rebuke or punishment is even necessary. The first part of the chapter is all about acknowledging your child's worst traits and learning to see them as their greatest qualities and redirecting those energies into good actions. Towards the end of chapter there is a lovely piece on giving children who have been punished an opportunity to "make amends," an important concept which is often overlooked. While children need to learn self-control, it's the parents who need to exercise it and model it, or else there is no point. I think if you read nothing else of this book, read this chapter. I intend to read it once a week until it is ingrained in my brain!
The final chapter, "Blessing of Faith and Tradition," gave me a lot of food for thought. Though I'm basically an atheist and not Jewish at all, I do have concerns about my young child's spiritual grounding. She writes, "You and your family may choose a different path than that of your forebears, but if you don't want to get caught up in the anxiety, materialism, and competition all around us, you must choose some path to walk on with your children. You must name it, follow it, and plan the curriculum for their spiritual education as thoughtfully and intelligently as you plan their academic education." I have taken this to heart.
I've already got a short list of things to start implementing in our household, one by one. A common theme throughout the book is the importance of actions and praxis and how these are preferable to just having nice ideas in your head while your life swirls in a chaos and your children have little respect for themselves or others. For example, in "Blessing of Having Someone to Look Up To," Mogel first explains from the Jewish perspective, why commandments on being polite are not a waste of time, or lessons in how to be inauthentic. Then she says, "In psychology, the theory of cognitive behaviorism holds that feelings follow behavior. In other words, rather than wait for your children to feel like being agreeable, you can teach them habits of politeness. If you and they use polite phrases every day, feelings of gratitude and respect can grow out of your behavior." She continues then to provide examples of how to help your children to be polite and give them opportunities to show courtesy and thoughtfulness in the home and outside of it.
The only negative thing I can say about this book after reading it once is the author definitely assumes you are middle to upper class, educated, and have a child who is "typical" in terms of mental or cognitive ability. I think she also writes towards a Jewish audience, which is to be expected given the scope of the book, but I felt like it was very much geared towards a particular economic class - it seemed like every client or situation she referenced was very well off. I think this reflects her personal experience so it's probably best she didn't attempt to overreach, but it does seem like she is maybe living in a bubble.
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Read information about the authorWendy Mogel, PhD is the author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 2001. Mogel is a nationally known speaker and author who looks at every day parenting problems through the lens of the Torah, the Talmud, and important Jewish teachings.
Mogel graduated from Middlebury College and completed an Internship and Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She is co-founder of the Los Angeles Association of Independent School Counselors and serves on the boards of the Center for Early Education and the Counsel for Spiritual and Ethical Education.
Mogel lives in Los Angeles with her husband, writer Michael Tolkin, and their two daughters, Susanna and Emma. On October 1, 2006, the New York Times published a profile of Mogel and her work.