When I taught Child Development in a Learning Community with an English teacher, all the reading was based on child development content. The fiction book we selected was My Sister’s Keeper.
The story begins with a couple’s decision to genetically engineer a baby to become a bone marrow match for the two-year-old sister Kate’s leukemia. Although the book actually covers two weeks, with flashbacks, the reader gains a fuller picture of the three siblings’ child and adolescent years.
Author Jodi Picoult is known for taking real life controversial issues and presenting multiple views from various characters. How far would you go to save your child’s life? Picoult weaves the view of the father, mother, oldest brother, sister Anna, sister Kate, Cambell (Anna’s pro bono attorney), and Julia (Anna’s guardian ad item) in this emotionally riveting book.
Life as a “Designer Baby”
Since Anna’s arrival as a “designer baby,” she’s had countless medical procedures to save her sister’s life. At thirteen, when Anna’s parents plan for her kidney donation, Anna makes a decision to sue her parents for the rights to her own body.
Movie Not the Same
If you’ve seen the movie released in June 2009 and haven’t read the book, be prepared. The movie doesn’t entirely follow the book. The 423 page book is far more emotionally gripping. The author takes readers on a distressing roller coaster ride. As with all good roller coaster rides, there’s an unexpected twist at the end.
Food for Thought
This book is a tear jerker but gives such a concise picture of the struggles each family member deals with when a child is seriously ill. This book raises questions about medical ethics, family conflict, and the power of love. The book includes a Q & A section with the author and questions for discussion. When you read the book, you’ll want to discuss it with someone.
Book Information: My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult, Washington Square Press, 2004. This book is available through Amazon.com. Paperback $12.67; Kindle $10.38; Hardcover $19.48; Audio CD $25.64.
As I research for my book series, From Diapers to Diamonds: Raising Responsible Adults, I discover a book that raises many of the issues I’m answering in this parenting series. Slouching Toward Adulthood: Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest written by Sally Koslow documents why a generation of carefully nurtured young adults is delaying adulthood.
Though she offers no solutions except during a brief last chapter, she simply reports what she discovered from research and interviewing parents and what she calls “adultescents” during 2010 and 2011.
“Twenty-eight is the new nineteen”
This thirteen chapter book provides a picture of college graduates returning home and living with their parents another decade or so. In the first chapter, A Public Display of Reflection, she explains how she learned that “twenty-eight is the new nineteen,” and included a new decade, the “odyssey, the decade of wandering that frequently occurs between adolescence and adulthood,” (p. 11) and she panicked. This information triggered the impetus for her book.
I found this book so engaging. It’s flagged with countless post it notes and comments written throughout the book. She examines young adults’ relationships to work or not to work, money, and their social lives. In chapter three: Choose Your Own Adventure, she addresses the challenges with decision making. “Forget Plan B. There isn’t a Plan A,” (p. 24).
There’s No Place Like Home
This entitled generation comes home after college because “…there’s nowhere else they could live better,” (p. 68). Two of my favorite chapters include chapter five: The U-Haul as Umbilical Cord and chapter six: Adultesents Without Borders. If your children have returned home or you hope they don’t return home, read this book. It gives a solid picture of what’s going on with the current generation of “adultescents.”
Slouching Toward Adulthood: Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest, Sally Koslow, Viking Penguin Group, 2012. Available at Penguin.com. Hardcover $25.95; paperback $16.00; eBook $9.99. Paperback, 2013 with a new introduction.
“Can I get a candy bar?”
“Can I have some money to buy a hot dog at the baseball snack shack?”
“Can you buy me …..?”
Things Cost Money
Do you recognize these pleas for spending your money? In thinking about what money skills young people will need to live independently, the school age years are ideal for teaching about money management.
At an early age, children learn that things they want cost money. They know what dollar bills in a birthday card are for. In elementary school, usually during second grade, children learn the different types of money and how to make change. Some children spend their money immediately, while others save it for something they really want.
Share, Save, Spend
To encourage money management, saving, and giving, we gave each child three baby food jars marked with the words Share, Save, and Spend. Our daughters received a small allowance every Friday that they could spend on whatever they wanted after they put a dime for each dollar in the save jar, and a dime for each dollar in the share jar.
Ways to Share
As church attendees we wanted our daughters to learn about sharing with others. Sometimes they gave their “Share” money during a Sunday school class or to a special project, like the Angel Tree project for Christmas gifts for children with incarcerated parents.
Another way we taught our girls about money was on family vacations. We provided meals for them, but we gave them a specific amount of money in an envelope for each day. The money was to cover the cost of snacks and souvenirs. This truly saved us money instead of paying for a snack, then another snack, then a souvenir, then another souvenir, etc.
Sometimes they saved up several days to buy something they really wanted. We also discovered that there were happier to eat snacks we’d brought along instead of using “their money” to buy snacks.
Modeling Money Choices
Most importantly, money management needs to be modeled by you. If you want your children to save and share with others, they need to see you doing likewise. If you want them spending money responsibly on vacation, let them watch you doing the same. With money matters, much is “caught.” Let your children catch you being a wise steward of the finances entrusted to you.
Moment’s later my daughter directs me to Kylie Ann’s one month photos. “Just use the mouse and click on each photo,” she explains. “It won’t work on the glass.”