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Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Honeycomb Kids" (Anna M Campbell)

TITLE: Honeycomb Kids: Big Picture Parenting for a Changing World and to Change the World!
AUTHOR: Anna M. Campbell
PUBLISHER: Nabiac, NSW: Cape Able Publisher Australia, 2012, (264 pages).

Big-Picture parenting. Using the honeycomb metaphor, the author tries to convince readers that it takes a village, or a community to build a good future for our kids. No one bee exists for itself. Neither does the queen bee lives for itself. One cell does not make a honeycomb. Together however, the whole community thrives. Every bee lives for others. The end result is a beautiful honeycomb that not only provides sweet honey and nutrients for the bee community, it brings great benefits through pollination, provision of food, and great contributions to the environment.

Written in two parts, Part One talks about the big issues that demand our attention. The author argues for greater attention to an explosive population growth that threatens to overwhelm our existing way of life. She lists climate change, natural disasters, water scarcity, food shortages, energy supply, price of oil, nuclear energy, healthcare, nutrition, pandemics, toxins, and genetic engineering, as threats we must all wake up to. With globalization, there will be social unrest, terrorism fears, and a squeeze on the struggling middle class in society. With technology, there is a temptation toward instant gratification, commercials that aim at innocent children, and many other risks. Nineteen words fill up the bad honeycomb.

Part Two brings in the key purpose of the book: Building Big-Picture Parenting through "cooperation, industriousness, shared decision-making, planning, determination to survive together, reverence for nature, yummy stuff, and a little bit of magic!" Nineteen words fill up the good honeycomb. We then have 24 chapters of ideas, tips, and creative activities to enable us to do BPP.
  1. Sense of Community, Citizenship, and Cooperation: we are urged to build community bonds within the local community and to support them whenever we can
  2. Smart Thinking: we are urged to think more for ourselves rather than simply soaking in what the media tells us, to develop an attitude of continuous learning, and wisdom.
  3. Building Hope and Resilience: builds self-esteem and confidence in life
  4. Competition vs Connection: explains the limits of competitive behaviour and the higher importance of connectivity.
  5. Fairness: Life is not just about grabbing and fighting for our needs or our rights. It is about putting things in perspective that there are many situations worse than our own sense of fairness.
  6. Healthy Life Choices: we tend to take good health for granted. Eating well starts by thinking the big picture advantages that go beyond costs, and what popular opinions tell us.
  7. Kitchen Garden: we need to learn to understand making good healthy food choices
  8. Getting Dirty: The garden teaches us more than simply industry and thrift. It teaches us to appreciate the goodness that it provides, something we often take for granted.
  9. Meaningful Work: Working for money is perhaps one of the most common but most meaningless activity. 
  10. Home is where the heart is: Buy a house sensibly, and not what the world promises, but what we need.
  11. Money cannot buy you love: Not everything will be ok if we have all the money in the world. Be measured in your focus on money-making, understanding the pros and cons. This chapter also provides tips on thrift and wisdom if how money can be spent.
  12. Nature knows best: Nature and humanity is connected in more ways than we know. If we see the connection more and more, we see our meaning of existence better each day.
  13. Laughter is the Best Medicine: Key to happy living.
  14. A Sense of Perspective: This is one of the most important factors in thinking big picture.
  15. Five R's (Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle, Redistribute): Living well includes ecological, social, spiritual concerns. 
  16. Compassionate Consumption: Don't consume as if the whole world is meant to give you what you want. Consume in a manner that acknowledges what we need, not wasting on unnecessary stuff and how we can help others. There is also a section arguing against irresponsible marketing.
  17. Using time wisely: Have time to work, sleep and play.
  18. Rome wasn't built in a day: Do not live under the tyranny of instant gratification and rush to fulfill our superficial wants. Big picture parenting requires long term thinking.
  19. Unconditional love: When we give our children unconditional love, we prepare them for adulthood in advance.
  20. Home truths: Truth is most precious of them all. Better than toys, electronics, and many materialistic things the world offers.
  21. It's all in the delivery: We are all at different stages of our lives. The better we understand, the better we live.
  22. Facing the music: Learning to accept short term consequences for long term gains.
  23. You can do this: Inspiration when young is a great way to instill and prepare for future leadership.
  24. Zest for life: Joy is a powerful energy source for living.

This book is great advice, filled with wise tips and smart ideas for daily living. Many parents grow up without the privilege of learning all of these from their own parents. If the advice in this book can be shared more widely, it is a powerful way to inculcate good values in our children. 

For me as a Christian, this book falls short because it presupposes man knows what is best for man. Written for a secular audience, obviously this book avoids religious talk, other than a few quotes of spiritualists like Deepak Chopra, and a few others. I can also argue that those are religious positions as well, which should be excluded in any secular book. There is a bit of New Age philosophy in this book, especially the part of loving the earth. It is generally a good book and a great reminder for parents to parent with a big picture philosophy. Unfortunately for me, it does not go far enough. Man cannot survive on good advice alone.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book is provided free by Cape Able and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered are mine unless otherwise stated.

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