Here I go again, finally finishing a book long after the book club finished it and moved on to another title. But this book, The Self-Driven Child by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson, was worth taking my time with. And reading some sections multiple times (by error but still worth it due to the interlude of other books).
I will say as I read through this book, from a teacher’s point-of-view, I quickly found myself stepping away from that perspective. I started thinking about how I was brought up – how I learned and what values were instilled in me; how I try to teach my students – to value learning for learning, not for the test; and, how I am consciously trying to raise my child – to learn to be independent and have his own values.
The book is written for parents, which I totally value. There were a few moments I almost suggested this book to parents in parent meetings – but again, parents don’t want their kids knowing the truth about life nor do they want to be told how to raise their kids (not that I was doing that). By the way, both of those ideas are presented in the pages of this book, I didn’t make them up for the sake of getting a point across.
The pages are full of case studies and interactions both authors have had with young people as they try to help these children manage the landscape of learning and life. I really felt connected to the ideas and examples they presented on alternative ways to allow children to make their own decisions. As they say, early in life there are few choices that can’t be undone – and it is important to recall that as parents we are always there to listen and encourage without letting our visions and goals get in the way.
In the end, I also found myself wishing my growth had been different but also thankful that one can still find their way from a distance course… I am encouraged by the last chapter that there are multiple routes to take to achieve a goal of success and happiness (and that those look different, not always monetary riches)