CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 16 . . . .April 14, 2006
Barbara Coloroso is well-known in the fields of parenting, teaching, and discipline. Her previous books, Kids are Worth it, Parenting Through Crisis and The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander, are down-to-earth, practical books that parents and educators can refer to time and again. Her latest book, Just Because Itís Not Wrong Doesnít Make It Right goes to the heart of the need to raise children who are compassionate and caring and ethical in their thinking and actions.
The depth of the information in the book cannot be absorbed in a quick read. Rather, this is a book to read, ponder, reread, and return to once the process of deep caring is put into action. Her work is founded on the idea that all are born with an innate capacity to care.
There is no wave of the wand that will magically produce ethical children. However, once children know that they are in a caring relationship, they, in turn, "can begin caring deeply, sharing generously, and helping willingly." The process maintains the dignity of each person.
Coloroso clearly sets out definitions of compassion and loving-kindness and then turns to sympathy and empathy, which she sees as the "driving forces" behind the first two. She says that knowing values, principles and laws does not necessarily translate into ethical behaviour. Coloroso sees the mind and the heart working together. Caring and critical thinking are partners. Coloroso sets out the "Big I and the three Cs" in the chapter "Being Good, Doing Good." These determine the ethical nature of the act: Intent, Content, Circumstances and Consequences. In later chapters, she explains how the three negatives, hoarding, harming, and hating, can destroy relationships.
Situations in the home, school, community and the world at large are used to illustrate how to guide children's growth as ethical people. The chapter on the media is especially relevant for today's parents and teachers.
This book is essential for anyone involved with children from toddlers to teenagers.
Jeannette Timmerman, a former school principal, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.