One of my preferred methods of choosing books is to amble through the “new releases” section in the library (side note: in my completely unbiased opinion, Frederick has the most beautiful library in the world—seriously, a spiral staircase!) and wait for inspiration to strike. On my most recent visit, I came home with Christine Gross-Loh’s book Parenting Without Borders. No, it’s not a new non-profit that takes volunteers into developing countries to practice parenting for a year. It’s a reminder that, like everything else, our ideas about what good parenting looks like are strongly influenced by our own cultural norms and expectations.
Of course they are, right? But how often do you stop to think about that? If you’re like me, you had 27 hours of training before you became a parent, but chances are you’re not like me (in that regard, at least!). We’re all kind of making this up as we go along…
Do our kids really need rooms full of toys that talk and roll around and flash lights?
Does telling them they’re wonderful make them wonderful?
Should we step in to intervene when they have a conflict with a peer?
Will they be doomed to failure in life if they can’t read when they “graduate” from kindergarten?
Can we teach them to be kind and responsible?
And, really, can’t we just let them play?
It’s not a traditional parenting book. It’s a whirlwind tour around the world with a peek into how childhood looks different in different places. If you’re interested in such things, it’s worth a read.