living a well tended life... at any age

favor-“ette”: “kindness wins” book review

My “big” kids are now 23 and 18, and theirs was one of the first generations of tweens/teens to come of age in the era of widely accessible social media (when it was “My Space” – not even Facebook yet – and thank god before things like Burnbook and Yik Yak).

Because we as parents couldn’t anticipate all the ways that social media could be used (and abused), it was impossible to get ahead of it. Conversations that seem so natural now weren’t happening back then, because we didn’t even know what to ask/be worried about/set limits on.

What I watched over the next few years was the utter and relentless invasiveness of cyberspace. When I was growing up, and going through a rough time at school, at least home was a haven where I could “turn off” and find some solace. Now I was watching my kids (and hearing the same from friends about theirs) endlessly scrolling through feeds to see what parties they weren’t invited to, what Friday night outings they were excluded from, what new groups of “BFF’s” were just formed. I’d hear stories of anonymous posts going up about this kid or that, intended for no other purpose than to hurt.

What makes this subject even more close to my heart is that Chelsea’s grade – to this day – was notorious for its “mean girls”. There was actually a meeting about the problem in the middle school, and it was astounding to me to sit and watch the parents of these bullies act as if they had no clue “who these girls” were.

So when Galit Breen asked me to take a look at a book she’d written about the subject, I all but jumped at the chance.

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Kindness Wins” is an easy-to-read book (more like a workbook), that covers so many of the challenges parents face as we try to help our kids navigate the waters of social media – and come out the other end as kind, accountable young adults.

From Galit:

“When my girls hinted that they’d like to post, tweet, and share photos on Instagram, I took a look at social media with new eyes – mom eyes. And suddenly I wasn’t just seeing unkindness that could happen to me, I was seeing unkindness that could happen to my kids, and to yours.

So I took to my pen and wrote (and wrote and wrote) a book about the conversations we need to have with our kids–and with each other–to teach our kids how to be kind online.

“Kindness Wins” covers ten habits to directly teach kids as they’re learning how to be kind online. I believe with every fiber of my being that our kids can do this. They can be the change we all know we need to see, and to feel. Because Kindness + Action = Compassion:

Speak up when you see something unkind.

Listen when someone else speaks up.

Learn to look at things from other people’s perspectives.

Train your eyes and your heart to notice if someone else is hurting.

And listen to that stick-to-your-ribs voice that’s telling you to do something.”

This book is so timely because – while there’s more awareness of this problem now than ever before – I still think that parents struggle with how to implement the guidelines and behaviors that they want their kids to adhere to when on-line.

Galit’s writing style is more mom-to-mom than preachy, and she draws on her vast experience in social media along with her years spent as a former classroom and reading teacher.

The chapters are filled with resources, talking points and “takeaways”, and is a succinct, to-the-point guide that I think you’ll find most useful.

Thank you Galit!

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Note: I was not compensated for this post. Galit kindly sent me a copy of “Kindness Wins” for my consideration; all comments and opinions are – as always – completely my own.

8 Comments

  1. Galit Breen on April 7, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Ohmygoodness, Sheri! Thank you so, so much for this thoughtful review! I’m so grateful to you (*for this and for your friendship!)!

    • sherisilver on April 7, 2015 at 8:42 am

      Galit it was my pleasure – and I feel just the same! xo

  2. Sandra Harris on April 7, 2015 at 9:31 am

    I’m ordering this book! As a mom of a 9 year old girl who is on the cusp of social media, I need this. As you allude to, there is enough going on growing up without having it made even worse by online bullying through social media.

    And I too am amazed that parents of mean girls are oblivious.

    • sherisilver on April 7, 2015 at 9:34 am

      Oblivious. And the excuses – it’s just the worst. I really loved this book!

  3. Shalagh Hogan on April 7, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    I commend your friend for this amazing book. I can see how it could well be used as a teaching tool in schools too. I couldn’t, however, stop thinking about the image of the assembly at your daughter’s school for the mean girls situation and how the parents didn’t see/want to see this problem. So I ask, those of us who care to raise kind compassionate kids are probably already engaged in conversations about these awarenesses right? Those mean kid parents probably won’t have a reason to read the book due to their general lack of “insightfulness”. Or do we need the info on the cyber bullying so we’ll know how to handle it when it happens to our kid? Or how to avoid it? I feel like the parents raising compassionate self-esteeming kids aren’t the ones who need the help as much. What do you think Sheri?
    Love,
    Shalagh

    • sherisilver on April 8, 2015 at 11:21 am

      You know Shalagh, I was going to write about that – about “preaching to the choir” and all. You are 100% right that the parents doing their best are already having those conversations. So I would agree that the book is also so helpful if your child is the victim, or – as DOES happen in the “best” of families – your child is doing the victimizing and you are aware enough to step in.

      • Shalagh Hogan on April 8, 2015 at 1:45 pm

        And as I was writing my thoughts, it occurred to me that I could too end up being blind to behavior of my angelic little ones. I do think it’s a great teaching resource and hope the author will see it used that way. You’re a good egg Sheri.
        Love,
        Shalagh

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