The Good I Read This Week: June 27, 2020

Full disclosure: I’m pretty sure I started reading The War for Kindness a few weeks ago, but who really knows? With five of the six kids currently at home, my not-quite-chronic migraines being rather chronic for the past week or so, out-of-town family visits, and some home improvement projects we’ve been trying to accomplish, the days have all kind of melded together. I did, however, finish it this past week, and? Hector would add it to his Good in the World book pile (if he were old enough for this kind of book).

One of my favorite parts of the book is in Chapter 6, Kind Systems. Zaki talks about working with social norms, rather than against them, to help build empathy. Specifically, he talks about work he and his graduate student, Erika Weisz, are doing with teenagers:

“Among angsty adolescents, it’s easy for bullies, social climbers, and mean girls to dominate conversations. Like hard-drinking college freshmen or cable news anchors, these extreme voices can crowd out the majority. Erika’s approach is to help students notice that the majority of their peers do care, giving them the opportunity to conform to an empathic norm.”

The War for Kindness, p. 141

Maybe I’m totally misunderstanding, but it sounds to me like they are scientifically showing that the approach suggested by Hector’s mom works.

So that was pretty cool to read.

The second book, Franky the Friendly Flamingo by Wanda Luthman, is a welcome addition to my home library (which is still mostly packed in our cupboard under the stairs, unfortunately). It’s bright, it’s lyrical, and Franky is a flamingo Hector would like to hang with since he is also learning and teaching good in the world. Wanda’s books (I’ll be getting more once our bookshelves are built) focus on positive social and emotional messages. Her professional background is in counseling, so she knows her stuff.

If you know me, you know my kids are all older than the target audience for Franky (though I want Franky the Finicky Flamingo for my husband — ha!), but I’ll still read them with my youngest anyway, and? I’m crossing my fingers for grandkids in the next couple years. We have plans for grandkid bookshelves as well, and once my adult kids start taking their favorite childhood books for their own bookshelves? I’ll have to have new and worthwhile reading for ours. Franky will be there, helping teach our next generation how to be friendly.

So there’s the good I read this week. What’s been good in your world?

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