And so begins another literary journey…

I think I’ve mentioned before that sometimes I find myself caught up in a literary journey… I rarely am able to predict them but I always enjoy ’em. I have found myself at the start of one and I encourage you to join in. Recommendations are greatly appreciated, as I rarely have a plan for these things. Instead I just follow where the book path leads. I’ve never been disappointed in this sort of travel 🙂

So Parenting Without Borders by Christine Gross-Loh book was really just picked up on a whim. It looked interesting and I was in the mood for nonfiction. I had no idea that it would be so meaty!

parenting without bordersHere’s the description from Amazon:

A primer on the world’s best parenting strategies—with eye-opening research on the surprising disadvantages lurking in the typical American childhood. 

Research reveals American kids today lag well behind the rest of the world in terms of academic achievement, happiness, and wellness. Meanwhile the battle over whether parents are to blame for fostering a generation of helpless kids rages on. Christine Gross-Loh (who raised her young children in Japan for five years) exposes the hidden, culturally-determined norms we have about “good parenting,” and asks, are there parenting strategies that other countries are getting right that we are not? This book takes us from Finland, and Sweden to Germany, France, Japan, China, Italy, and more, and examines how parents successfully foster resilience, creativity, independence and academic excellence in their children. Revealing the surprising ways in which culture shapes our parenting, Gross-Loh also offers objective, research-based insight into what strategies are best for children and why.

I just don’t think this fully does the book justice. I tend to shy away from books that tell me that as an American I’m doing everything wrong and some mom in France or China is doing everything right. I also don’t care for books that tell me that I should recreate some other culture here in my neighborhood so my kids can be successful. I truly believe that every culture and family has some great strengths. All we can do is our absolute best in the environment in which we live. I really felt that Christine Gross-Loh feels the same way. In reading the book, I didn’t uncover a long list of things that the American parent is failing at and every other culture is superior. I found the discussion of parenting styles to be unbiased and objective. She definitely points out where she thinks the typical American parenting is strong, for example our acknowledgement of each individual child and their needs. She points out our weaknesses, such as our tendency to over praise creating children who are over confident without a sense of accomplishment. She shares some great strengths from other cultures, such as their treatment of meal times as family bonding events. But I have to agree with her, there are some lengths that I think are a bit extreme and I have no desire to participate.

If you are mid- to late 30s, like me, you might remember a childhood full of freedom. Leaving out straight after school and making it back when the street lights came on. The time in between was filled roaming the neighborhood in packs. We made good choices, bad choices and narrow escapes. Thank God we made it out alive. But boy those were some great confidence builders! My children aren’t growing up in the same world. But they do need the freedom to have good and bad choices. I’ve never been a fan of helicopter parenting and this book certainly makes me feel justified. I finished the book with a fresh perspective on my parenting priorities and the childhood that my children are experiencing.

My recipe was inspired by the chapter on the eating and meal preparation. It was a full family experience in eating. The french shaved salad provided easy opportunities for the little folks in my house to help in the kitchen.

shaved salad

Cut ribbons using a vegetable peeler from the following vegetables: Carrots, zucchini, cucumbers.
Thinly slice the following: celery, onion, red beets, snap peas.
Should equal about 3 cups total.

Top with:
1 – 2 T olive oil
juice of 2 lemons
crushed garlic
salt & pepper

And yes, since they helped make it… the kids ate it. Though I can’t say they’ll be begging to make it again.


5 thoughts on “And so begins another literary journey…

  1. Pingback: Pardon Moi! I’m having a French moment… | Librarian Eats

  2. Pingback: Make A List Monday: 5 More Parenting Must Reads | Librarian Eats

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