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Parenting From the Heart

May 5, 2014 - Betsy Bethel
A Review

I hadn't heard of Steven W. Vannoy's "The 10 Greatest Gifts I Give My Children" until the press release about its 20th anniversary printing popped into my email. I get a lot of these types of emails, but what caught my eye was the assertion that the author helps parents "take the struggle out of parenting and put the joy back into raising their kids."

I don't pretend to think there is some magic bullet in this book that means I will never struggle and always be a joyful parent after reading it. But I like its concepts - that the qualities we should instill in our children go beyond following the rules all the time and being upstanding citizens. They go much deeper and are much more personal.

The author learned this the hard way when reflecting on his own life after a major downfall. His wife took his two young daughters and left because he put his thriving business and "yuppy" reputation before them. He was living in a friend's basement and contemplating suicide when he discovered that while he had been given the gifts of problem solving, work ethic and integrity from his parents, he missed out on receiving such gifts as self-validation and emotional intelligence. Article Photos

Here's what Vannoy says in his introduction: "I'm not a child psychologist nor a parenting expert with lengthy credentials. I am a parent who has experienced a quantum leap in my relationship with my children since I started coming from my heart, since I started taking the 'high road' of conscious choice in this new paradigm of parenting."

The 10 gifts he chose to give his children, and to which he devotes a chapter each in the book, are the gifts of feeling fully, self-esteem, compassion, balance, humor, communication, abundance, integrity, responsibility and conscious choice. He gives examples from his own life, and in this edition, he also gives examples of how these concepts have worked for families who have communicated with him over the past 20 years.

Parenting authors are a dime a dozen, and it's never a good idea to take any of them as gospel. But I like Vannoy's premise, his transparency and his ideas.

And I like this admonition: "...Please remember that your commitment now is toward nurturing internal qualities and values, and that take a lot longer than simply demanding that the trash get taken out this minute."

"The 10 Greatest Gifts I Give My Children: Parenting From the Heart" by Steven W. Vannoy, 20th anniversary edition paperback, will be released by Touchstone Paperback May 6.


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