Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Dirt & Sunshine

The first time I remember meeting Kathy was at a mutual friend's party. She was there with her husband, Paul, and 2 their boys, who must have been about 6 and 9 at the time? (they are now 9 and 12, I believe) I didn't get a chance to talk to her or Paul much that day, but I do very much remember at one point at the party looking over and seeing that her kids were both sitting on cushions on the floor absorbed in books they had brought, and being blown away at 1) how much they seemed into reading and b) how calm they were. Now, I've certainly seem them be more boisterous and do their share of wrestling, too. But they seem to know how to behave themselves, to know what kind of behavior is appropriate, and don't go around bouncing off the walls each chance they get (at least this is my impression).

I say all this to give some prespective as to why, then, I was pretty darn excited to hear that she was writing a book of advice to parents. As a mother I still spend much more time feeling utterly lost than feeling like I have any inkling of an idea of what I am doing, so seeing someone who herself seems such a lovely person and who seems to be raising such well-balanced boys is not only refreshing but makes me want to pick her brains to figure out how she's done it.
Dirt & Sunshine
Last time I saw her she gave me a copy of her newly published book, Dirt & Sunshine, as a gift.* When I got home I opened it up and read it cover to cover (easy to do, as it's only about 30 pages long-- one of its many assets since it's easy for even the busiest parent to sit through and read at nap time). The book is made up of 25 bits of advice that she's learned through her own personal experiences, or had passed on to her from other parents: let your children spend as much time outside (in the dirt and sunshine) as possible; be the person you want your children to be; read to your children, early and often; use "close range" discipline; teach your child to cope in an imprefect and unfair world; etc. Most are so common sense that you'd think you'd know it all already, expect many of us don't or forget or just don't take the time to remember. She also gives some examples of how to implement some of these pieces of advice, to help you out.

To be completely honest, this is the most down-to-earth and refreshing "parenting book" I have ever read. I plan to keep my copy easily accessible as a daily reminder of these little nuggets of wisdom. I have already sent a couple copies out to fellow new mom friends, and may get some more for Christmas... we'll see. Dirt & Sunshine is available for purchase on amazon.com, and should soon also be up at its own website: http://www.dirtandsunshine.com/

*As a disclaimer, Kathy did not ask me to write about the book or give a review. I'm writing this simply because I think her book is that kick ass and hope lots of you will buy it and read it. =P

1 comment:

  1. What a great little book. I am actually appalled by the fact that the kids in my development/town do not play outside. I can go to any of about 5 playgrounds and be the ONLY one there at any time of day. My husband said people have different priorities- and I think that is sad. I thougt being a kid was all about dirt and sunshine.



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