Motherhood is like Ivan Drago, it will break you, if you let it. Mouthy kids, messy house, everybody obstinate, demands unending, crying, whining, clinging, pestering, need, need, need. It is utterly exhausting.
Louis CK has a great bit called, “Why?” It about sums up what parenthood can do to you.
I share all this because I read via a friend’s Facebook feed this mom’s lament about a truly crappy morning with her darling angels:
I lost it this morning. Really lost it. After the kids were all dressed for school, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, backpacks packed, I turned on the TV. I have a rule that the kids can only watch certain channels. Annabelle never, ever, ever sticks to this rule.
You can go read the rest to see how she proceeded to handle Annabelle. Let’s just say this, at least mom didn’t let the disobedience stand.
This mother is worried about people judging. Maybe some non-parent is going to judge, but most parents are nothing if not utterly humbled. Kids will do that to you. I’m convinced that it starts with pregnancy and the uncontrolled, public fart that happens at least once. A parent is not a parent if he or she hasn’t lost his or her dignity. Sometimes, it’s lost and never returns. And this is with normal, regular old kids.
In addition to my “normal” children, I also have an autistic child in the mix. Having a special needs kid sent me to the books. I needed help.
Through my desperate searching, I did find one gem. There is a great book for parents struggling with disrespectful, entitled brats. I wish I had bought and read and implemented the principles years ago, but I was so buried and overwhelmed back then and no one told me. So, I’m telling you.
Read this book. When things start spinning out of control again, read it again. Lock yourself in the bathroom (yes, I still do that and no, it still doesn’t work) and refresh yourself with the principles.
For me, the maddening parenting thing is making the same request over and over and having gifted and talented children looking at me slack-jawed and drooling and acting as though I’ve just spoken in an obscure Chinese dialect. Oh, you know The Look. We all know The Look. This book will help you with that look.
Not sure what to get those hard-to-buy for relatives this Holiday Season? I’m here to help. Buy them the spectacular and riveting book by Phil Kerpen, Democracy Denied.
Phil’s book is a companion and follow up to Michelle Malkin’s book Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies. Like Michelle’s, Phil’s book is fastidiously researched and carefully documented.
Like Michelle’s book, Democracy Denied, is terrifying.
Think you know the full implications of President Obama’s power grab? Think again. And I have to say, seeing it all spelled out made me queasy to read it.
If Obama has his way this is your life:
– Energy consumption rules
– Internet takeover
– Forced union membership
– Forced health care control
– Financial regulations limiting your choices
– Destroying energy jobs
– Taking your land
Full disclosure: Phil Kerpen is one of my friends. He also happens to be one of the smartest guys in Washington, D.C.
Phil is one of those people who has a monster intellect combined with the extraordinary ability to make the complex simple. I’ve met one other person with this gift.
Phil can teach you without talking down to you.
His book is beautifully written–so in addition to reading an informative book, the experience of reading it is enjoyable.
I urge you all to go buy Democracy Denied. Buy them for your skeptical family members. This is no conspiracy book. This is just the cold hard facts about the Obama administration. Those alone, will win over unsure family members and friends still supportive of Obama.
James Joyner writes that he reads books less, now, and non-fiction at that, because he is reading all day in front of the computer:
I read non-fiction almost exclusively and have gone from being a book person to an article person. The efficiency of getting 85 percent of the point in eight pages that I would get in 300 pages has made it so that I seldom read books cover-to-cover. Even very fine books, such as David Kilcullen’s The Accidental Guerilla, are hard to finish because my inner editor quickly says “yeah, yeah — you’ve already said that in a slightly different way in the previous chapter.” To be sure, each new case study reveals additional nuances. But everything beyond the introductory chapter presents a very high work to reward ratio.
His whole post is worth a read. Ha!
Here’s what I’ve noticed: Now, I have to force myself to read outside of my computer time. Since working, writing and blogging on the computer, I find salient information more easily but the over arching big picture can get lost. That is, it is very easy to major in the minors when immersed online.
To step back, I’ll read non-fiction, sure. Before my intense online time, that’s almost exclusively what I read, but I have found my mind craving a different sort of information. When in Chiropractic college, majoring in the minors was also a problem. My intellectual life was broken down into biochemistry, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, embryology, pathology, etc. Likewise, today, my intellectual life is broken down into health care, taxes, economics, energy, and a myriad other policy choices. What I need is big picture.
Big picture ideas often come from two sources now–fantasy literature and magazine reading. What magazines? Certainly not Newsweek which has all the information of any propaganda. I lean toward magazines like Architectural Digest and Scientific American. Seems unrelated, right? But really, there are “big” ideas in both. What is new and different? What expands my world view? That’s what I hunger for in the age of bytes and bits.
So while I do feel my attention span has changed, I will sit for a good book or a good picture or a well-thought out article that expands my thought-scope. My patience for shoddy writing has dwindled. I just don’t have time to sit through a marginally good book. (I will read culturally relevant books on vacation–I should have been paid money to read the Golden Compass trilogy, for example. And those books won awards. Blech.)
Far from destroying my reading ability (except for limited time), the internet age has refined and shaped my leisurely reading desires. The internet has made me expect more.
Question: Name 10 books every young man should read before his 18th birthday.
Posted by President_Friedman
Here’s the deal. There are so many books that could be read. I decided to include children’s books and kinda “grow up” through them. The Bible should be read to a child, there are great childrens’ versions, from the beginning. The stories all tell a moral and form the groundwork for any other stories both from a moral sense and a literary sense. There are archetypes in the stories that recur again and again. The Bible is a life-long must. [Note: I prefer to read the Bible in the Old King James. First, it makes other older English writings easier to understand. Second, the vocabulary is rich and lyrical.]
As a child ages, more complexity enters the stories. Not every story has a happy ending. Also, note that some of the books are non-fiction. Frankl’s book is a must-read. A young man tends to be petulant and put-upon. Viktor Frankl survived the Holocaust and found the keys to survival and mental health. It is a perspective-inducing book.
You’ll note that there aren’t just ten. Too few, for me. And I could have easily made the list 25.
A reader asked if I’d pick the same books for girls. The strange answer? Yes. But I’m not a typical girl. When younger, I also read all the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series. My sister loved Little Women and the Laura Ingells books. Anne of Green Gables is good for female protagonist. Also Jane Austen. Period. Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, etc. Excellent.
Aesops Fables are a given. My kids LOVED these.
The recommendation to just get kids reading is wise. I make my kids read a section of something and write a report on it nearly every day during the summer. They love reading.
The Federalist Papers I considered including, but I also was thinking of compelling reading that taught while telling a story. I put The Prince in the strange category of important reads but would mean more to someone with more life experience.
Brave New World should be read opposite 1984 and compared and contrasted, in my opinion.
Martin, I too, read the encyclopedia when I was bored and bought an old set for that purpose with my kids. (Ditto medical encyclopedia, but I’m a nerd.)
Okay, as far as the Odyssey goes….it’s good, but heavy. Instead, I have had my kids read the Percy Jackson and The Olympians. Excellent series by Rick Riordan that will teach your kids about the gods in such a fun way they won’t know they’re learning. Can’t recommend these books enough. (Ages 8-14, but I love ’em too.)
And Watership Down? Are you kidding me? That book was assigned when I was in 9th grade and I think I almost gave up reading. That book, along with Catcher In The Rye, inspired me full of hate both for stupid rabbits in their byzantine warrens and slacker, aimless college students.
Also, my favorite writer when I was a kid was Hemingway. I read them all. Oh! And anything by Chaim Potok, especially The Chosen.
As far as self-help goes, “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff”, is a great read. Also, if a person wants to manage his or her life, Stephen Covey’s 10 Habits is classic. This book is a good one for a kid to develop a framework for managing his life. First rule is most important: Begin with the end in mind. Words to live by.
15. Winnie the Pooh A.A. Milne
Exposition of common personalities. Friendship.
14. Charlotte’s Web E.B. White
Cycle of life and death. Memories transcend death.
13. The Tale of Peter Rabbit Beatrix Potter
Listen to your mother. Obedience. Adventure.
12. Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak
You always have a home and someone who loves you. Power of family.
11. The Velveteen Rabbit Margery Williams
The power of love to transform. Overcoming hardship. Finding purpose.
10. Frog & Toad Are Friends Arnold Lobel
Friendship makes life better. Adventures. Treasuring friendship.
9. The Lion, Witch & The Wardrobe [Series] C.S. Lewis
The power of choice. Doing the right thing against all odds.
8. Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl
Surviving even the worst oppression. Psychology of men.
7. 1984 George Orwell
Best description of totalitarianism.
6. Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand
How a free society can be turned of their own will into slaves of the state.
5. Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien
Faith. Leadership. Loss. Ambiguity of evil. Adventure.
4. Maslow on Management Abraham Maslow
Best book on the psychology of leadership and management, bar none.
3. Dune Frank Hebert
The power of servant leadership verses dictatorial force.
2. Sun Tzu’s Art of War
Again, understanding the psychology of leadership and tactics to employ.
1. The Bible God
Obviously, every educated person should read the Bible. It is a primer on human nature, natural law, morality, consequences, and connecting a person’s physical existence to the Creator. In essence, while many books can teach people what to do, the Bible gives a foundation for why something must be done. Truly, “the foundation of all knowledge is the Word of God.” Amen.
An Interview With Michael Medved
“10 Big Lies About America”
Coraline: A Movie Review
Neil Gaimon’s always scary stories made into a movie.
Sydney, Australia is quite simply gorgeous.
Birds sing. Trees blow in the breeze. It’s in the low 80s. There’s water everywhere. Stunning! The little town, Rozelle, reminds me a bit of San Fransisco, a bit of Grand Haven, Michigan, and a bit of some vague European city with the twisty-turned streets, brick everywhere and crammed together business and housing. It feels familiar enough that I don’t feel like a tourist, but I look like one. I have my Superman backpack (they’ve run out of them, but this is the style, and they work great!) and a camera in my hand and I don’t give a hot damn that I look like a nerd.
Finished up the book Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)
on the trip. Yes, it’s good. Nothing that’s going to give you extra I.Q. points, mind you, but a great story with interesting characters and all the angst of adolescence on full display. Some reviewer here in Sydney said the book was just like Harry Potter. I’m wondering what sad planet of I-didn’t-read-the-book he was from. Whatever. The book is entirely different in tone, setting, and focus. Where Harry Potter is epic good-evil with a dash of growing pains thrown in, Twilight is a “first love/true love” story with vampires thrown in. Sheesh! Sometimes, I think I should be a book reviewer. Anyway, it was good enough that I’m finishing the series, maybe while I’m here. We’ll see how much time I have to read.
Tomorrow the ferry and Mandalay Beach. I expect to fry like a marooned baby seal. I don’t exactly intend to fry, mind you. I have the sunscreen and cover-ups, etc., but Australia has a monstrous ozone hole over the continent, no doubt created by the tiny Australian population using excess resources and being big, fat, wasteful consumers since they are a Western Democracy. Or, it’s the Chinese fault, kinda like it’s Detroit’s fault that all parts Toronto are polluted, or rather, it used to be Detroit’s fault back when they had factories, back in the olden days. Anyway, there’s a big ozone hole and it’s easy to get burned. I’ll do what I can to prevent that. Don’t want to prematurely age. Too late, I have kids. Comes with the territory.
Strange thing about technology: I’m in America. I’m in Sydney. My Twitter and blogging friends are so ass-backward body-clock wise, it’s like I’m home. And so, in a weird way, technology plays along with the normal-seeming yet strange sensation of being 14 hours off my body clock’s time.
I’ll be updating, if I can get the Australian data network to work, on Twitter with pics and all. Hope you’re having a great break, if you’re on one.
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