Thursday, January 10, 2013

Daring Greatly: A Book Review

Not too long ago I shared a book with you that I loved.  It was called The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.  I loved this book so much I bought a copy for myself and for a gift to give a female at our annual family Christmas gift exchange.  I haven't revisited the book yet, but I did read her most recent book that my husband bought me for Christmas:  Daring Greatly:  How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.   

It was my first book of 2013 and I think I started off the year with a great choice!  One chapter that I found to be particularly interesting pertained to parenting.  Brene Brown has spent over a decade doing research on shame (among other things) and it's amazing how this can really effect our lives.  One of the main points that I took away from the chapter was to separate the child from the behavior.  This was a good refresher from my education years ago.  We all have moments (probably daily!) where our children make choices that irk us.  How we react to these moments, though, can really shape how our children feel about themselves both now and going forward.  It was a good reminder to think about how I phrase my words when I am upset/correcting my kids.  Rule of thumb:  "Name, you have made a bad choice/decision (insert offense)."  We could follow that up with, "How can you fix it" or "What could you do differently?"  

I'm not going to lie, the words, "You are naughty" or another shameful word has come out of my mouth plenty of times.  I will definitely be making a conscious effort to improve the way I relay my message to my kiddos.  I don't want them to feel ashamed that they can't do something, for example tying their shoes or making it to the potty in time, but I want them to feel good about their effort and give it their best.  This really just brushes the surface.  You'll have to read the book if you want to learn more!

Shame really fills a large space in our society.  It happens at home, school, work, and organizations with our family, friends, and strangers.  We're a competitive society and putting down others' efforts is the norm.  We try to "one-up" others and make ourselves feel good about our decisions and circumstances.  The list goes on and on.  Sometimes it takes concrete examples, like those given in the book, to make us realize how common it really is.     

The last point I'd like to make about this book involves risk-taking and creativity.  The author points out that many times we don't even make an effort to do something we really want to do, because we are afraid of how it will be received by others.  How many of your dreams have you squashed because you were afraid to share them with others?  How many thoughts do you keep to yourself because you are afraid you will be shut out by the one you share them with?  I'm sure you could think of several examples in just a few minutes.  On the flip side, how many times have you shut someone else down?  Just something to think about!

I really can't recommend this book (and the other) enough.  They will both make you think and perhaps strive to make some simple (or not so simple) changes in your lives.  In a society where we beat ourselves up or get beaten up by others on a daily basis, I think we could all use a little insight and motivation to make some changes.  While I've given each book one read-through, I will definitely be reading them again in the near future.  There is so much good information to process, that it's worth a second look!       

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