by Piero Ferrucci
Warner Books, 2001
Review by Elizabeth Batt on Jan 31st 2002
Parents often possess an Achilles heel when approached with advice
or suggestions on how to raise their children. Piero Ferucci's
What Our Children Teach Us - Lessons on Joy, Love, and Awareness
often feels like life in a goldfish bowl. But, despite the initial
desire to contradict the author's statements, you'll discover
yourself nodding in agreement, acknowledging a valid point and
smiling in understanding.
Ferruci asks us to consider what our children could teach us if
we only took the time to listen, to guide rather than dictate,
to love unconditionally. He does this in a clear concise manner
that is inoffensive and remarkably thought provoking. He presents
his ideas by citing and utilizing his own experience with parenthood
while offering examples of his own children that are difficult
to dispute. As a parent you'll sympathize and even recognize his
case in point, simply because you've experienced it as well.
Ferruci introduces us to his two children, Emelio and Jonathan
and openly shares various and often-humorous stages of their lives.
As his experiences develop, his sense of awareness develops along
with it as he finds himself battling between the standard expectations
of parenting and a more liberating, lenient approach. In its simplest
form, "should be" replaces "could be" as he
attempts to emphasize that our actions as parents can evolve into
a positive experience for both parent and child, if we can see
beyond the restraints of society.
Forming expectations of our children is a natural parental response
and is one of the key themes of Ferruci's book. Evident throughout,
the author explains how we often guide our children towards what
we expect of them, rather than allowing them to become an individual
with their own ideas and thought processes -- "A character
trait or habit is not delivered to us in a package. It reaches
us by contagion." (p. 34).
While Ferruci advocates a change in parenting, he is far from
dictatorial. He admits that perfectionism isn't possible and his
own experiences reveal a learning process of trial and error that
leads us to acceptance rather than drastic change. Instead of
trying to control our children, Ferruci urges that we guide them.
It is through this guidance he suggests, that we will in turn
learn from our children. In essence, if we seek to accept rather
than control and understand rather than change, then we'll be
far more accepting of society a whole.
The author seems at times to set a daunting task but accepts that
giving isn't always easy. While you understand him you also wonder
where he gets his patience, for we are asked to thwart society
and its conformities and to give with good grace and few half
measures. It would take a courageous soul to completely snub society
and unless society changes simultaneously, you cannot help but
question whether you'd really be preparing your children suitably
for life at its most severe. Still, Ferruci tackles the role of
pioneer remarkably well. He makes you think, and change often
begins with one idea or thought.
© 2002 Elizabeth Batt
Elizabeth Batt is
the Managing Editor for Ancient and European history at Suite101.com.
Her Website, Kids British History.com,
presents history to children in a clear and light-hearted manner.
She lives in Montana, with her three children, one dog, one cat
and two horses where she is hard at work on a historical fiction
book for children.