Lighting Their Fires

I just reread this review of Lighting Their Fires by Nat Torkington, which had this very valuable list of “lessons” for children (and their parents). It’s a child-rearing book, which I haven’t read, but that I’ve already benefited from. So:

The lessons for parents and kids:
* punctuality,
* use time valuably,
* care about and learn from the past,
* repeat and repeat the values,
* embrace an art and learn time management, focus, etc.
* put away distractions,
* develop a personal code of behaviour (he uses Kohlberg’s six levels of motivation)
* radio, models, board games, getting good at music and other arts, reading all build focus. TV and games do not.
* the importance of decisions and that they be good ones,
* to recognise that they are making decisions every day,
* spotting and discussing decisions in novels, plays, and movies,
* if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well,
* actions have consequences, there are good outcomes and bad, strive for excellence, lose the sense of entitlement,
* consider your alternatives,
* in the arts, try for excellence not adequacy,
* allowances not tied to chores—chores are responsibility, and the reward is the job well done,
* identify substandard work and require it to be done to standard, otherwise there are no standards,
* be self-less,
* work with groups not individuals, so all can recognise and appreciate and celebrate the hard work of others,
* do the right thing for the right reasons,
* be able to do the right thing without acknowledgement or praise (humility),
* to be able to delay gratification.

Along the way, lots of great quotes. Over the library of Thebes: “Medicine for the Soul”. Mark Twain’s alleged line, “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” Martin Luther King, Jr: “If it falls to your lot to sweep the streets, Sweep them like Michelangelo painted pictures, Like Shakespeare wrote poetry, Like Beethoven composed music.”

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