A debut child-rearing guide that concentrates on fostering good judgment and self-awareness in children.
In their nonfiction debut, martial arts instructor Chris Santillo and Holly Santillo, a martial arts instructor and children’s-choir conductor, take a position against “helicopter” parents, who use various methods to remove any challenges or disappointments in their children’s lives. The authors say that “childhoods replete with instant everything, including instant gratification and guaranteed gold stars, rob this generation of the opportunity to build independence through hard work and occasional failure.” The Santillos predicate their book on a deceptively simple observation: Even the most fulfilling life requires resilience in order to make it through occasional rough patches. Their book’s main strength is how it unpacks the notion of resilience by showing how it’s grounded in strength and adaptability and by explaining its three pillars: learning, integrity, and service. The authors reveal the nuances of these principles, in part, through personal stories of their own parenting adventures as well as occasional insets that explain specific lessons (“First the why….Then the how”). The chapters also provide “ASSESSMENT” sections featuring pointed questions that are designed to bring lessons into focus, such as “Does my child seek opportunities to serve others in both small and large ways?” The authors alternate between admonishing some standard parenting approaches (“Children who have been taught with bribes or rewards learn one primary lesson: how to do anything for a gold star”) and encouraging mothers and fathers to have more confidence in themselves: “You guided your children in learning how to walk, to talk, to hold a spoon, and to smile….Your children want to learn, and best of all, they want to learn from you.” In clear, gently forceful language, the authors lay out a clear program of building resilience that may help children later on in their adult lives. Parents, both new and old, will find much of value in these pages.
A feisty and readable outlook on parenting.