Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Review: Blessings of a Skinned Knee

The Blessings of a Skinned Knee

Probably one of the best books I read.  I borrowed it from the library, but immediately went onto and signed up to receive a copy. It's parenting wisdom from a Jewish perspective, and includes lots of Torah commentary, and specific portions to relate to.  It's broken down into chapters of 'blessings,' each of which covers something unique and different for the art of parenting.
  1. The blessing of acceptance: discovering your unique and ordinary child.  This is a wonderful chapter.  It's honestly empowering to connect with the concept that my child is both special and ordinary at the same time.  To know that in everyway possible my child is absolutely different than anyone else, and in ways that no one else ever will be... but at the same time, that it's beneath me to believe that he or she will be good at everything, all the time.  That each child has strengths and weaknesses, and the first step to helping your child succeed is to accept those.

  2. The blessing of having someone to look up to: honoring father and mother.  I didn't think I would like this chapter, but I really do.  It sort of harkens back to the commentary about being a 'Yes' mom.  You know, that Mom who says, 'yes,' you can play with the playdough on the kitchen table 30 minutes before dinner because I know when I tell you to clean it up you will.  Rather than the 'no' mom, because you'll have to ask 6 times and don't want the hassle.  Learning to respect your parents goes a lot farther than just listening to them.  She gives lots of good examples in this chapter.

  3. The blessing of a skinned knee: why G-d doesn't want you to overprotect your child.  LOVE IT!  I want to be a free spirit, and EG is already showing that she's an independent little miss.  This shares good boundaries, and the concept of 'knowing the norms.'  She says that in her neighborhood 8 year olds can walk to school together.  Whats the 'norm' of your location?

  4. The blessing of work: finding the Holy sparks in ordinary chores. We watched Mary Poppins last night, and this is 'in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.'  However, it is also a throughly Jewish perspective.  That each day we can make choice to elevate our choices, find the Holy, or not.  That's why we pray before we eat, to elevate the holiness, and remind ourselves that we are more than just animals that need food.

  5. The blessing of longing: teaching your child an attitude of gratitude,
  6. The blessing of food: bringing moderation, celebration, and sacrifice to your table
  7. The blessing of self-control: channeling your child's Yetzer Hara.
  8. The blessing of time: teaching your child the value of the present moment 
  9. The blessings of faith and tradition: losing your fear of the G word and introducing your child to spirituality.  I loved this chapter, and it's such a great endingOne of the greatest differences I find in Christianity and Judaism is this concept that 'Jesus loves you.'  I don't really remember growing up hearing that G-d loved me, but I know that he does.  This chapter really explores the idea that we are loved, and that it's okay to show your child how much G-d does in the world.  Exploring the little things.
I didn't go into each chapter, need to leave something for you to read about, however I think this is a fantastic book.  Like I said, after getting it from the library, it's one of the ones that I went out and bought immediately.


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