Tuesday, July 15, 2014

teachable moments

If you have a pre-teen or teenager in your life, or think that one day you might, you probably need to read this book or one like it. Teachable Moments: Using Everyday Encounters with Media and Culture to Instill Conscience, Character, and Faith. (Marybeth Hicks, Howard Books, 2014) is a compendium of ‘moments’ drawn from family, media, friendship, school sports, the real world, and moments that matter. And the moments are discussed in the context of someone with a strong faith background.
      Some of Hicks’ suggested answers are common sense, some seem a little too pat, and a few are ones that I would have liked to have had read about several years ago. Hicks is the mother of four children, and so she has some experience in dealing with the things that pop up in the lives of our children, things that we would like to be able to protect them from, but unfortunately, we can’t.
         An expression that she uses throughout the book, and which made perfect sense to me is “we’re preparing the child for the path, not the path for the child.” Try as we might, there is no way we can foresee all the pitfalls that our children will encounter: we can’t prepare the path. What we can try to do is instill values and morals that will help our children to make wise decisions. Consistently throughout the book Hicks is careful to point out the importance of integrity and character.
       In our politically correct world, everyone seems to have a voice, and the right to make it heard, except someone who espouses traditional Christian values. This is becoming more and more prevalent in schools where in the name of preventing bullying, the pendulum seems to have swung a little too far, to the point where teachers are required to put a positive spin on things that many consider sinful. Hicks offers suggestions on how to deal with these conflicting messages in a way that reinforces your own values and explaining how others deserve to be treated with dignity and respect even when you disagree with their stance on a particular issue.
       I was interested in reviewing this book because I have a teenage son, and expected to find it very useful. My mistake was thinking that one size might fit all, which is obviously not the case.  Although there is a lot of good material here which many people will find useful, I imagine that supporters of some of the issues that Hicks considered to be ‘teachable moments” will attack her as being a hater, not being open-minded, or being one of those judgmental Christians.
       I did not find this book as helpful as I had hoped, but younger parents and those with preteens, and younger teens in the house may glean more helpful hints than I did.
         I received a pre-release copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.


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