Several months ago my niece and I were laughing together over a recent temper tantrum thrown by one of my children. Generally, I try to ignore the noisy outbursts but on this day I gave in and imitated the screaming, flailing fit. I intended to show the child how ridiculous she looked. Her thrashing and yelling stopped immediately as she looked at me in shock. Thankfully we were in the relatively private confines of our own home and no one outside our immediate family witnessed the humiliating event. I may have succeeded in stopping the tantrum but I ended up looking like a fool in front of my child. I could laugh a few days later but it still concerned me, besides all the other worries I have because I'm a parent of five children.
My niece, a new mother with three little ones in as many years, suggested that I read The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel, PhD. Her husband, a medical student, read it for one of his classes, liked it and passed it on to her. Since I respect their opinions, I ordered it (from Amazon). The book was in my hands a week later and I hungrily devoured every word within a few days.
Wendy Mogel is a nationally known clinical psychologist who has written a treasure map for parents who want to raise respectful, successful, honest, "self-reliant" children (who doesn't). In her book, she uses Jewish teachings to show parents how it can be done. For example, one of the lessons from the Ten Commandments teaches that we should honor our parents. Mogel points out that God has shown us how to do this in the first of the Ten Commandments when He establishes who He is and His authority. Likewise, parents need to establish their authority. Mogel goes on to provide simple but effective suggestions on how parents can successfully do this.
The Blessing of a Skinned Knee also includes chapters on teaching children to work, be grateful, be spiritual, use their time wisely and other poignant and thoughtful advice for parents. I especially appreciate her advice on creating a sacred dinner table for our family. She writes, "One traditional Jewish expression for home is the same as the word for a house of worship: mikdash me'at, or 'little holy place.' Our dining table with our children is an altar. It has the potential to be the holiest spot on the planet." (p.35)
Mogel's writing is conversational, humorous and timely. Not only was The Blessing of a Skinned Knee full of good lessons for parents it was a pleasure to read. While I am not Jewish, I am religious and the basic principles are the same. I appreciated the spiritual nature of this book. Quite honestly, I enjoyed learning more about a religion and people that I respect and admire.
I have attempted to take the lessons learned from The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and change some things in my own parenting style. My husband and I noticed a definite improvement in the behavior of our children and in our own attitudes. Unfortunately, old habits die hard and I probably should read the book again and again. And for that reason and because Utah Dad is half way through reading it, I couldn't give my own copy away. I contacted Wendy Mogel's assistant who was gracious enough to send me another copy of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel to give to one lucky, randomly selected winner.
To win a free copy of
The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel leave a comment on this post and for an extra chance do one or more of the following:
1. Become a follower of Utah Mom's Life Blog.
2. Add the Utah Mom's Life Blog Button to your blog.
3. Write a post about this give-away on your own blog or Facebook or just tell a friend if you're old fashioned and still communicate with people face-to-face (then come back and leave another comment so I know).
Good luck. The winner of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee will be announced on Friday, November 13th.