I’m writing my first book for adults since Armchair BASIC. It’s called: Teaching Kids to Be Good People. It will be available as an eBook in September.
Since one person’s “good” might be another person’s “Are you kidding me?!” I knew I needed to be precise from the onset. So I asked my twitter followers, plus many of my most thoughtful friends, colleagues and family members “How do you define a ‘good’ person?”
Lots of intriguing and insightful responses galloped my way and I’m grateful. My plan is to dissect each one… all in good time. But at the moment, I’m focused on forgiveness.
That’s an aspect of “goodness” I hadn’t considered. Probably says something about me. I mean, I have overstayed my welcome at the Self-Pity Party, ahem… once or twice. So when one especially kind-hearted friend offered me this nugget: “A good person is forgiving”, like a dog and a flying tennis ball, I was on it. Thinking. Thinking. Thinking.
- What does it mean to be forgiving?
- How do you actually forgive someone? Which muscle do you relax or clench?
- What’s the connection between forgiving and forgetting? Are they mutually exclusive?
- What might you gain by holding on to your resentment? Anger? Self-righteous indignation?
- What might you lose?
- Why is it so $#*@ hard to permanently unplug a memory that continues to wound each time you project it onto your mental movie screen?
These are open ended questions, my friends. I don’t know any useful answers… yet. Love to hear your thoughts.
fyi, in the next 6 months, I’ll be talking about teaching kids to be good people at the 18th Annual Character Education Conference in St. Louis, the INTASE Educators’ Conference in Singapore, and at the 19th National Forum on Character Education in Washington, DC.
UPDATE 3:13 pm Today (9/14/12): The book is finished! And I’ve had only enthusiastic early reviews, including these:
- “Annie Fox has a genuine passion for helping our young people and she has many years of experience doing it. Both are evident in this wonderful resource for parents and teachers. It’s full of insight, wisdom, good stories, and most important – practical advice. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to help our kids become good people.” –Dr. Hal Urban, author of Life’s Greatest Lessons and 20 Gifts of Life
- I can’t express enough how much I love Annie’s work. Having worked in this field for so long, it becomes increasingly difficult to read new thoughts and ideas. Every time I read something of Annie’s, it makes me think. She writes about subjects with such compassion, insight and practicality that you can’t help but love all that she does. Great book-a great job Annie!” –Sarah Newton, author of Help! My Teenager is an Alien!
- “Another work of magic from what I have come to know as a master in the field. Sharing actual scenarios and follow up ideas, helps to keep readers connected to Annie’s ideas in a way that most parenting books fail to do.” –Joe Bruzzese, author of A Parents’ Guide to the Middle School Years and Founder of Sprigeo.com, the online bully reporting system
- “Finding positive, empathetic role models is often difficult but this wonderfully practical and warm hearted eBook is a great place to start. It will empower parents with some really helpful suggestions and ideas that will help you to navigate the choppy emotional waters of raising great adults.” –Sue Atkins, author of Parenting Made Easy – How to Raise Happy Children
This early feedback, especially coming from these excellent parent educators, has touched and encouraged me. The book is done, so what am I waiting for? Nothing, except to finalize the cover design. That won’t take long. As promised, before the sun sets on the last day of September 2012, Teaching Kids to Be Good People, will be available to everyone interested in raising young adults of good heart and mind. If you’d like to receive an announcement when the book is available, shoot me an email and I’ll let you know… personally.
UPDATE (10/3/12): I’m very pleased (and excited) to announce Teaching Kids to Be Good People is now available in print and also on Kindle. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:
We parent-educators are gardeners. We plant seeds and offer nurturing lessons that our kids can internalize. But we are not our children’s only influencers. By re-dedicating ourselves to teaching our kids to be good people, we provide them with the tools to do the right thing while we’re right there beside them and when they’re on their own. Whether they actually do it, is their choice. But at least we’ll know we’ve done our part well.
To help on our parenting journey, I’ve written this very personal and pragmatic guide that includes essays, podcasts, prompts, tools, questions, answers and self-assessment quizzes all for the purpose of teaching kids to be good people. How do you define a “good person?” That’s what I wanted to find out, so I posted the question and received hundreds of answers. Eight words kept reappearing: Emotional intelligence, ethics, help, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, tolerance and social courage — all essential, teachable skills. This book will help you teach them to your children or students. Hopefully, we’ll become so engaged in this process that our teaching will inspire all of our children to become part of the solution.
Look for an announcement next month! In the meantime, if you’d like a personal email when the Teaching Kids to Be Good People is available, let me know.