At first glance the book looks thick and academic, so I was inclined to ignore it for a while. The book even says that it is “From Gallup.” Which further alienated me from it. After all, my children are both academically sound, enjoy school and present and create no drama. My son was recruited to attend a private school and as my husband and I contemplated the advantages of him attending the school, I was faced with really delving into his learning experience—and what we should expect to get out of this school. One of the questions on the applications is what is your child’s biggest strength? Of course I thought I knew the answer, but I remembered that thick, intimidating book with the subtitle: developing your children’s innate talents. This book could help me further dig deep into identifying his strengths.
I set aside my TV time, my me time and sat down with a cup of tea over the summer. I prepared myself to read a lot of facts (folks from Gallup wrote the book, right) and figures. Instead I was pleasantly surprised with quick and delightful anecdotes and interviews from notables like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Steven Spielberg and Jason Wu. I had several “Aha” moments while reading some of the things that their parents did. This book was more about me getting to know about my interaction with my child, more so than telling me what to do with my child. The more I read, the more I was intrigued. I especially loved the encouragement that I received as a parent on some of the things that I already did, and was inspired to take those a step further. For example, as a “hand’s on” parent, I try to pick summer activities that my children like to do, and something that will challenge them. But this book gave me strategies to finding those hidden talents that all kids have. The book also includes two strengths assessments—one for the parents and one for the child.
The old adage, never judge a book by its cover is applicable in this case. The actual book is a quick read and though filled with references to studies and psychological assessments based on the father of strengths based psychology, Don Clifton, still very enjoyable, entertaining and enlightening. I feel empowered and encouraged to continue my works to help develop my kids learning.
REVIEWED BY CARA EVERETT