Talk of love surrounds us, and romance is a constant concern of popular culture. Ann Swidler's Talk of Love is an attempt to discover how people find and sustain real love in the midst of that talk, and how that culture of love shapes their expectations and behavior in the process. To this end, Swidler conducted extensive interviews with Middle Americans and wound up offering us something more than an insightful exploration of love: Talk of Love is also a compelling study of how much culture affects even the most personal of our everyday experiences.
Research has shown that very young children can learn sign language before they learn to speak. Teach Your Tot to Sign: The Parents’ Guide to American Sign Language provides parents and teachers the opportunity to teach more than 500 basic American Sign Language (ASL) signs to their infants, toddlers, and young children. Hearing children, deaf children, and children with special needs can benefit from learning the elementary signs chosen for this handy pocket-size book. Young children who can communicate using simple signs become less frustrated and also bond in a special way with their parents. In teaching ASL to parents of toddlers and preschool teachers, author Stacy A. Thompson recognized the need for a book that could be used at home and in the classroom. Her book features fundamental signs of great appeal to young children and concise instructions on how to sign, including the critical importance of facial expression.
Teach Your Tot to Sign anticipates all of the common desires and interests of young children — food, pets, planes, trains, cars, and boats, games, holidays, vegetables, family — in short, nearly everything. Reflecting children’s endless curiosity, the vocabulary chosen ranges from signs for “baby,” “broken,” “clown,” “dinosaur,” “firefighter,” “gentle,” “hot,” “hurt,” “ketchup,” “pacifier,” “rooster,” “sad,” “spaghetti,” “wagon,” “water,” “wet,” to “you’re welcome,” and even “McDonalds.” This lively assortment of signs will help every child convey earlier in their development their thoughts, feelings, and desires to their parents and teachers.
Extinguishing the minds (and souls) of our children in ten easy steps
Play dates, soccer practice, day care, political correctness, drudgery without facts, television, video games, constant supervision, endless distractions: these and other insidious trends in child rearing and education are now the hallmarks of childhood. As author Anthony Esolen demonstrates in this elegantly written, often wickedly funny book, almost everything we are doing to children now constricts their imaginations, usually to serve the ulterior motives of the constrictors.
Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Childtakes square aim at these accelerating trends, in a bitingly witty style reminiscent of C. S. Lewis, while offering parents—and children—hopeful alternatives. Esolen shows how imagination is snuffed out at practically every turn: in the rearing of children almost exclusively indoors; in the flattening of love to sex education, and sex education to prurience and hygiene; in the loss of traditional childhood games; in the refusal to allow children to organize themselves into teams; in the effacing of the glorious differences between the sexes; in the dismissal of the power of memory, which creates the worst of all possible worlds in school—drudgery without even the merit of imparting facts; in the strict separation of the child’s world from the adult’s; and in the denial of the transcendent, which places a low ceiling on the child’s developing spirit and mind.
But Esolen doesn’t stop at pointing out the problem; he offers clear solutions as well. With charming stories from his own boyhood and an assist from the master authors and thinkers of the Western tradition, Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child is a welcome respite from the overwhelming banality of contemporary culture. Interwoven throughout this indispensable guide to child rearing is a rich tapestry of the literature, music, art, and thought that once enriched the lives of American children.
Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child confronts contemporary trends in parenting and schooling by reclaiming lost traditions. This practical, insightful book is essential reading for any parent who cares about the paltry thing that childhood has become, and who wants to give a child something beyond the dull drone of today’s culture.
In 2010, Don Waters set out to write a magazine story about a surfing icon who had known his absentee father. It was an attempt to find a way of connecting to a man he never knew. He didn’t imagine that the story would become a years-long quest to understand a man who left behind almost nothing except for a self-absorbed autobiography for his abandoned son.
These Boys and Their Fathers touches on Waters’s early life with his single mother—and her string of dysfunctional men—and his later search for and encounters with his father, but it quickly expands into a gripping account of the life of a 1930s pulp writer, also named Don Waters, with whom Waters becomes obsessed. This wildly original book blends memoir, investigative reporting, and fiction to sort out difficult aspects of family, masculinity, and what it means to be a father.
In this autobiographical volume, the remarkable Helen Bevington looks for answers to the question of how to live or, more specifically, how to confront growing older. A familiar face on the literary landscape since the mid-1940s, Bevington contemplates the course of her own life in view of the suicide of her father, the final years her mother spent in unwilling solitude, and the tragic suicide of her son following a crippling automobile accident from which he could never recover. How is one to face the inevitability of death? What is the third alternative? How to persevere in life? The unique Bevington way of autobiography recreates lessons and insights of other lives, historical figures, and compelling incidents, and combines them in a narrative that follows the emotional currents of her life. Evoking a wide range of historical and literary figures, including Chekhov, Marcus Aurelius, Flannery O’Connor, Simone de Beauvoir, Thoreau, Beatrix Potter, Sappho, Yeats, Alexander the Great, Montaigne, Saint Cecilia, Virginia Woolf, Liv Ullmann, and many others, Bevington finds in these lives a path that has guided her search away from solitude. Through her reflections on the ten years that followed her son’s death, we become aware of how far she has traveled, how the search has brightened, how she has eloquently evolved into old age. In the end she is sitting, like the Buddha, under her own fig tree, waiting not for death but for further illumination. An original contemplation of the universal dilemmas and tragedies of existence, The Third and Only Way is at once warm, funny, and inspiring—full of learning and wisdom.
Child abuse, incest, child molestation, Halloween sadism, child pornography: although clearly not new problems, they have attracted more attention than ever before. Threatened Children asks why. Joel Best analyzes the rhetorical tools used by child advocates when making claims aimed at raising public anxiety and examines the media's role in transmitting reformers' claims and the public's response to the frightening statistics, compelling examples, and expanding definitions it confronts. Drawing on a wide range of sources, from criminal justice records to news stories, from urban legends to public opinion surveys, Best reveals how the cultural construction of social problems evolves.
Middle-class family life in the 1950s brings to mind images of either smugly satisfied or miserably repressed nuclear families with breadwinning husbands, children, and housewives, much like the families depicted in Ozzie and Harriet and Father Knows Best.
Jessica Weiss delves beneath these mythic images and paints a far more complex picture that reveals strong continuities between the baby boomers and their parents. Drawing on interviews with American couples from the 1950s to the 1980s, Weiss creates a dynamic portrait of family and social change in the postwar era. She pairs these firsthand accounts with a deft analysis of movies, television shows, magazines, and advice books from each decade, providing an unprecedented and intimate look at ordinary marriages in a time of sweeping cultural change.
Weiss shows how young couples in the 1950s attempted to combine egalitarian hopes with traditional gender roles. Middle-class women encouraged their husbands to become involved fathers. Midlife wives and mothers reshaped the labor force and the home by returning to work in the 1960s. And couples strove for fulfilling marriages as they dealt with the pressures of childrearing in the midst of the sexual and divorce revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s. By the 1980s, they were far more welcoming to the ideas of the women's movement than has often been assumed. More than simply changing with the times, the parents of the baby boom contributed to changing times themselves.
Weiss's excellent use of family interviews that span three decades, her imaginative examination of popular culture, and her incisive conclusions make her book an invaluable contribution not only to our understanding of the past but also to our understanding of men's and women's roles in today's family.
"Weiss has written an enlightening book that examines the dynamics of American families past and present. . . . Since Weiss is a historian, she provides analyses of her arguments that are factual rather than emotive, and her use of family interviews further contributes to a strong presentation. Overall, this is a unique works because its multidisciplinary approach informs but never preaches on the emotionally charged topic of the American family.—Sheila Devaney, Library Journal
Transnational Aging and Reconfigurations of Kin Work documents the social and material contributions of older persons to their families in settings shaped by migration, their everyday lives in domestic and community spaces, and in the context of intergenerational relationships and diasporas. Much of this work is oriented toward supporting, connecting, and maintaining kin members and kin relationships—the work that enables a family to reproduce and regenerate itself across generations and across the globe.
Most Americans agree on the necessity of education reform, but there is little consensus about how this goal might be achieved. The rhetoric of standards and vouchers has occupied center stage, polarizing public opinion and affording little room for reflection on the intangible conditions that make for good schools. Trust in Schools engages this debate with a compelling examination of the importance of social relationships in the successful implementation of school reform. Over the course of three years, Bryk and Schneider, together with a diverse team of other researchers and school practitioners, studied reform in twelve Chicago elementary schools. Each school was undergoing extensive reorganization in response to the Chicago School Reform Act of 1988, which called for greater involvement of parents and local community leaders in their neighborhood schools. Drawing on years longitudinal survey and achievement data, as well as in-depth interviews with principals, teachers, parents, and local community leaders, the authors develop a thorough account of how effective social relationships—which they term relational trust—can serve as a prime resource for school improvement. Using case studies of the network of relationships that make up the school community, Bryk and Schneider examine how the myriad social exchanges that make up daily life in a school community generate, or fail to generate, a successful educational environment. The personal dynamics among teachers, students, and their parents, for example, influence whether students regularly attend school and sustain their efforts in the difficult task of learning. In schools characterized by high relational trust, educators were more likely to experiment with new practices and work together with parents to advance improvements. As a result, these schools were also more likely to demonstrate marked gains in student learning. In contrast, schools with weak trust relations saw virtually no improvement in their reading or mathematics scores. Trust in Schools demonstrates convincingly that the quality of social relationships operating in and around schools is central to their functioning, and strongly predicts positive student outcomes. This book offer insights into how trust can be built and sustained in school communities, and identifies some features of public school systems that can impede such development. Bryk and Schneider show how a broad base of trust across a school community can provide a critical resource as education professional and parents embark on major school reforms. A Volume in the American Sociological Association's Rose Series in Sociology
A family built, a family lost. Truth Has a Different Shape is a story of the power of compassion, of love and loss, revelations and relationship, and the evolution of self.
Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, Kari O’Driscoll was taught that strength and stoicism were one and the same. She was also taught that a girl’s job was to take care of everyone else. For decades, she believed these ideas, doing everything she could to try and keep the remaining parts of her family together, systematically anticipating disaster and fixing catastrophes one by one.
Truth Has a Different Shape is one woman’s meditation on how societal and familial expectations of mothering influenced her sense of self and purpose, as well as her ideas about caretaking. As an adult, finding herself a caretaker both to her own children and to her aging parents, O’Driscoll finally reckons with the childhood trauma that shaped her world. Adoption, loss, and divorce defined her approach to motherhood, but in Truth Has a Different Shape, O’Driscoll finally pushes back. This memoir tracks her progress as she discovers how to truly care for those she loves without putting herself at risk, using mindfulness and compassion as tools for healing both herself and her difficult relationships.