The cover to this children’s book, newly released by our friends at Little Pickle Press, caught my attention with it’s rockin’ title and adorable dolphin.
It has to be among the cleverest titles ever. Seriously.
As someone who has spent the last year giving a lot of thought to the issues of bullying and relational aggression, however, it was the book’s pages that most thrilled me. Ripple, you see, is a dolphin in a new tank–a fish in new waters, if you will–who runs into a nasty dude named Snark.
(Yes, Snark the Shark.)
Naturally, we grownups have all run into Snark (and Ms. Snark, too) in our lives. (This election year, some of us have run into them almost daily on Facebook.) Over time, we’ve learned to either tune them out or “kill ‘em with kindness” depending upon the type of snarkiness they leave in their wakes. It takes time to learn these skills, and some kids are especially sensitive to the hostility thrown out by the Snarks of the world. So they need the guidance of a parent to help them manage the nastiness.
What is simply marvelous about Ripple’s Effect is that it shows children how the concept of “mirroring” works for us land mammals. Essentially, in the words of the authors, Shawn Achor and Amy Blankson, “When you smile, my mirror neurons light up, tell me I am the one smiling… We can make a ripple effect of positivity if we begin to choose happiness ourselves.”
Much as Ripple lights up Snark’s life–and helps him leave (hopefully) his life of bullying behind, sharing this book with your youngster gives you a chance to emphasize positive solutions to big, ugly behavior. The trick to making the lessons stick is for us parents to continue the discussion about relational aggression throughout our every day experiences. (The publisher has graciously created FREE lesson plans.)
Curiously, I’ve found that the more we discuss these painful topics with our children, the more that we see evidence of negative, hostile and cruel behaviors in our own “mature” lives.
Yes, adult relational aggression is very real.
Perhaps if we parents teach our children well at home–using books like Ripple’s Effect, we can build good habits in our own “tanks.” And if enough of us do this and in turn form happiness ripples in the wider culture, then we might eliminate a lot of real-life snark.
Disclosure: I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher as part of a “blog book tour” celebrating the publication’s release. The opinions here are entirely my own.