Sabbatical season. Thankfully, it’s given me time to tinker with a couple of larger projects–one fiction, one non-fiction–that I pushed aside for my first two books. I reckon they’ll keep me plenty busy in 2016.
While I hit reset on the writing process, a few friends have shiny new books to promote, so I can’t be a complete hermit.Therefore, this is the first of a series of book reviews you’ll see here this year.
DISCLAIMER: the publisher of the book reviewed here provided me with a courtesy review copy. Two Amazon affiliate links appear in the body of this review. I receive a penny or two back from purchases made via those links.
One of the benefits of participating in GHF’s vibrant online community is the chance to learn from “seasoned” parents of gifted and/or twice-exceptional kids. These are people who have walked before us, wearing similar shoes. A few of them have even blazed a new trail or two.
Still, between juggling home, work, and life responsibilities, not every parent in need of advice and support has ample time to dip their proverbial toes into the GHF social media stream.
With the release of GHF Press’s Writing Your Own Script: A Parent’s Role in the Gifted Child’s Social Development, Corin Barsily Goodwin and Mika Gustavson have streamlined the hard-won collective wisdom of the community. Both women are mothers who have demonstrated their commitment to the gifted community time and again. Between them, they have decades of experience on the front lines of gifted education and parenting. Goodwin founded GHF and still serves as the organization’s president, and Gustavson is a psychotherapist and parent coach.
Using the behind-the-scenes process of theatrical productions as their template for the new book (their second one as collaborators), the authors spell out in simple, direct language the essential information parents need to know about raising a gifted/2E child. The usual topics are addressed, including Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities and the inherent challenges of nurturing social connections with 2E kids.
What sets this book apart, however, from others in the genre is the warm, frank talk about the need to make bold choices—even those that run counter to cultural conventions or personal preferences. Parents are encouraged to question their own assumptions about what is “optimal” when it comes to parenting. We’re also encouraged to make hard, responsible choices about whom in our lives deserves input in the choices we make, from the big ones (school choice) to the little ones (how long to stay at the park when fuses are short).
It’s remarkable that in the Western world, one in which independence is prized above all else, that parents would need to be encourage to think divergently. But we do. When a child diverges so far from the norm that he or she throws the logic of cultural norms into question, parents can find themselves wanting to reinforce standards that are outdated or simply inappropriate. That increases tension, friction, and makes parenting (unnecessarily) more difficult.
Writing Your Own Script, with its practical, no-nonsense advice and supportive tone, offers parents the same kind of support and challenge that our kids need. While it may be tempting to see this book as being geared for parents of elementary age children exclusively, it has application until the teen years. For individuals wanting to dig more deeply into individual topics, a substantial bibliography and footnotes are included. Clocking in at under 90 pages—and available via e-readers, it’s a quick read, too; the kind of thing that you can read on the fly in the parking lot or in brief snippets before bed time. Given that’s it only $4.99 on Kindle or Nook ($7.95 in print from Amazon or Barnes & Noble), it’s a steal.
All in all, Writing Your Own Script is a worthwhile investment and a fortifying read. I recommend it.