This is the ONE book on parenting that everyone (parents, grandparents, caregivers, anyone at all who cares about children of all ages) should read and carry with them, always. It is especially helpful for those who have limited exposure to non-Western ideas, spiritual or otherwise. What is so special about Mr. Martin's book? It forces one to focus on the CHILD, and one's reactions to the child, and to stop worrying about classifying everything and overanalyzing the child. Parents these days get so worked up about raising the perfect child, and parenting perfectly, that no one winds up happy, and I for one think many of these current generations will suffer because of this. If only more parents would read Martin's book, they'd realize that children will grow up, with or without our interference. This book will guide those who choose to let the child become who THEY should be, rather than who we WANT them to be...wise words for us all.
The Parent's Tao Te Ching is not about behavior modification and table etiquette. There are plenty of other books for that sort of thing. How many times have you read on of those "How to Raise a Perfect Child" books and tried to apply their practical advice to your unpractical offspring? (note: I have just counted and I have 37 books about practical parenting on the shelves of my living room library that I have collected over the past 19 years of being a mother). I can't count how many times my children have looked at me with smirks on their little faces and said, "What book did you read that in?" when I've tried yet another spin on an old parenting technique.
I am so grateful for Mr. Martin's book. It does not tell me I can be Martha Stewart, Mother Goose and the Pink Power Ranger all rolled into one as long as I follow the steps. It simply reminds me of what is real. For example, here is an excerpt from one of my favorite passages:
"They look so small and frail but they are great and magnificent. They are born of the same womb that birthed the cosmos and knitted together the galaxies."
This book is a simple, elegant reminder of what truly matters. I have two copies. One for my bedside and one for the office. I open the second one when my husband calls with the latest child- related disaster update.
I highly recommend Willam Martin's other Tao Te Ching related books: The Couple's Tao Te Ching and The Sage's Tao Te Ching.