What a book selling/blogging conference can teach us about parenting

20130529-152548.jpgI’m at the huge Book Expo America this week for various reasons, none of them child or parent related. Still, as I sat through the keynote deliver by Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club, this morning at the blogging portion of BEA, I was struck by how his 6 tips for bloggers would work for parents as well. Here they are in as close to Will’s words as possible.

1. When a book wins, we all win.
Admittedly this first one is a little more book centric than the rest of his points, but if you change kid for book, it works for parents too. Another child’s success does not detract from my child’s accomplishments. I love hearing that someone has had massive improvement with a certain diet. Just because it didn’t have the same kind of effect with my kid does not lessen my joy for the other family.

2. Success is not numbers.
Another way to word this is success is not grades. Personally, I got very little out of 9&10 grade, despite straight As. Good grades, test scores, etc. do not always predict success in life. The reverse is also true. After all, how many stories have we all heard of people that dropped out of college to start a successful business?

3. We all make mistakes and need to cut each other some slack.
I am not perfect. My child is not perfect. I have to remember that other people’s children aren’t perfect. Instead of rolling my eyes at the kid melting down at the grocery, I need to remember that the next time that screaming kid could be mine.

4. But don’t cut too much slack.
Our job as parents is to help create functional, ethical, socialized future adults. That means that when my child acts in inappropriate manner, he needs to know. At the same time, I personally have to remember to have a reasonable response.

5. Kindness rocks and communities built around kindness rock.
This is a big thing we like to teach out kids anyway. We want kind, empathetic kids. This doesn’t mean every kid mine meets need to play with him if they don’t want to. I just hope they’ll turn him down in a kind way.

6. Books really do matter.
Books (and kids) are important. And books for kids — whether they are print, ebook, or app form — are important. As Will said, books bring hope. We should want to share that with out kids.

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