Dr. Robert Rose, Author, Joys of Teaching

PEEK-A-BOO, I SEE YOU! Parenting From Your Child’s Point of View.
Sandra Gunn, InnerImages Books, 2009.

What a beautiful book! What an incredibly inspiring human being! Sandra Gunn models the very best in how a true Christian should live life. (This from an atheist so you know how impressed I am.)

From her childhood she could have become a bitter, angry person.  She became at age eight the principal caregiver of her father and younger sister while her courageous mother, who easily could have abandoned her family, struggled to support them. It took her father her entire childhood and teen years to slowly die from multiple sclerosis. However, father and mother, in their own way, gave Sandra as much love as each could unselfishly muster. Despite all odds her mother put Sandra and her sister through college to give each the opportunities she didn’t have.

Deprived of a normal childhood Sandra didn’t want to be a caregiver again and so didn’t want children.  She married and was told by doctors she could not have children. As happens in life she did have two boys, Dmitri and Dakus. The book tells how she became the kind of mother that every child should have.  If mothers did as Sandra describes we’d live in a world where courage, honesty, civility, creativity, justice, and love were lived, not said to cleverly manipulate.

I wish Sandra had been a colleague in at least one of the many schools where I taught. It would have accelerated our evolution as teachers, parents, and humans. I learned early about individual differences and spent my life (as she has) in finding ways to meet each child’s needs and bring out as many of hers/his potentials as possible. The keys are being a close, caring observer and listener, a patient and forgiving model, and a just disciplinarian dealing with their normal frailties. She raised her sons this way and each chapter illuminates how they learned in a loving adventure that made their lives examples of what life could and should be.

She in her home schooling (and her years in public schools) and me in countless schools taught our children that they were valuable – just as they were. However, we helped them discover more of what they had the abilities to become.

Sandra shows how important art, music, caring for animals and plants, sharing the wonders of nature, and doing things with people you love and who genuinely care for you does to develop complete human beings. NCLB and now the Race to the Top stress testing, groupthink, ignoring all that makes us uniquely human, and fear of failure. The latter especially has lead to all the worst aspects of thoughtless conformity rather than teach the social responsibility that comes from children who understand that their freedom depends on appreciating, not depreciating others.

For parents and teachers Sandra has set standards of what should occur in our relationships with our children.  It is very difficult, but working towards the ideal, while living with the real, is more possible than most realize.  Her message should be heard on radio and TV as well as this book should be read.  I plan to help.

What a shame that I can only give her FIVE stars!

Dr. Robert Rose, author, JOYS of TEACHING; They Touched My Life, on Amazon.

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