<em>Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children</em> by Wendy Mogel

The sub-title says it all. This is a book of value both to those both looking for advice on child-rearing and looking for guidance on how to live according to Jewish teachings.

The thing that strikes me, as a secular Christian, about Judaism is that it provides so much guidance on how to live daily life. Judaism takes the sacred out of the temple or the church and puts it in the home, it takes the worshipping out of the hands of the priests and shamans and puts it in the hands of the mothers and fathers. (I guess that's what comes of centuries of persecution -- you spread your faith around so it always survives. Kind of the distributed computing of religions.)

Conveniently for the rest of us, Jewish teachings with respect to the home and the raising of children are eminently sensible and time-tested. This book has advice about how to appreciate your children, how to get them to appreciate (that is, respect) you, how to teach them gratitude, get them to do chores, discipline them. The author is a psychiatrist and a mother, too, so she puts the teachings in a modern perspective. She's also pretty funny.

This is a useful book and an easy read, and has lots of good recommendations for other books -- in fact, I might get this out of the library again just for the bibliography (some of the books she references aren't applicable to my children just yet). You will also learn lots of useful Hebrew words like yetzer hara. (Maybe that's Yiddish? She doesn't say.)


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