Friday, April 25, 2014

7 Quick Takes

1.  So I didn't post Small Success Thursday on Thursday as I didn't want it to crowd an already written post.  So here's your link to participate in yesterday's celebration of everyday victories over minutia, schedules, clutter, exercise, resisting the urge to hunt down your children's hidden stashes of Easter Chocolate, etc.     Stop over at and visit by clicking here.

2. This week is Prom week for our second oldest.  She and I went shopping and found her whole outfit.  She's going with friends tonight, but I'm posting the "selfie" she did for Facebook so you can see, she looks lovely and happy, all you could ask for.  
3.  What am I reading?  Well, this week I finished rereading Watership Down, and polished off A Kitchen House.  The former was a dream, the later, not so much.  Now I'm working on a book my husband gave me, "How the Irish Saved Civilization."  Can't pour out what I don't put in.  Which leads to the next part of this post. 

4.  What's in a review?   I belong to the community of and as such sometimes get books to read and review.  In January, I received Daughters in Danger by Elayne Bennett. I wanted this particular one, given I have 6 daughters and one is going off to college. 

I read it in February and prepared to post it when we got to March.   It is now April.   I am posting the review here and at Amazon, I wanted to give 4 or 5 stars because I know the blood, sweat, time and energy that goes into writing a book, I know no one ever feels good when they get something other than 4 or 5 stars, I wanted to really dig into the topic.

The Good: 
Bennett's assessment of the multiple threats facing children growing up in the cyber age is spot on. Her work and writing indicates a sincere desire to help arm today's youth with the tools to maintain their innate dignity and security, and she has twenty years of serving at risk populations to back up her solutions. Her message is good, we must do better by our daughters as a matter of justice, if not love.

 I know the culture we must raise them in has serious threats that must be vigilantly met, and the author has the history and background chops to really dig into this topic. She gives good qualitative examples of the problem torn from the headlines of recent years, I remembered most of these cases and understand the problem of how to teach our girls to be alert, to be aware, and to be savvy not just about the world but themselves.
The Mixed and the Frustrating:
However, her solutions would be better received if they were bolstered by quantitative research, which it would seem she could add given her 20 years of running a nationwide program that reaches out and seeks to help at risk children. I kept waiting for the stats, they came but late in the book. The stats bolster what she asserts and if she were to illustrate from the 2 decades of providing community based support the before and after or the outcomes 5, 10 years out, of those who participated and those who didn't, statistically speaking, she could win people easily. I also think, the politics of the issues, while facts, unintentionally distract and detract from her presentation. Stick to what you do and why, reveal why it works, make the case for why it should continue.

I still agree with her premise and the promise of this book. I believe to help all teens thrive, we need to engage them on a personal level, to teach them that they must have respect for their minds, hearts and bodies if they want to break out of the shackles of low expectations that can often plague girls in particular and foster a cycle of poverty hard to break.

If they gave half stars, I would feel more comfortable, 3.5. 

Final Opinion: 

My impression was that the final chapter should have been the outline for the structure of the book, to give it a sharper focus, because the book gives good stories, outlines the problems young women face today, and provides suggestions for solutions, but those strong points are marred by the method of presentation which feels bloggy in style, jumping topics. I wanted more meat to the bones of the argument being put forth, and I felt it could have been given, so it frustrated me as a former educator of at risk students, I wanted to delve into it deeper. This should be a better book given the hard work being done and being proposed, the daughters in danger deserve our attention.

5.  I follow an  Archeology site as part of ongoing research for Penelope. They found a statue of Demeter in Turkey owing to two people doing an illegal excavation.  You can read the story here.

I thought it cool, you have to wonder, how many other treasures are lurking under our feet around the world? 

6.  This weekend, in addition to Prom, we have two teens running in a 5K, two birthday parties --one of which we're hosting, and the normal every week stuff that tends to crowd up the weekend.  Next week is 1st Communion, and then we get into the super crazy part of May, with Confirmation, exams, graduations, a birthday, Mother's day and still the ordinary stuff that makes up life.   Writing may become more scarce as a result. 

7.  I missed the sign up sheet for swimming lessons, which always fill up early around here, with sign ups being some time in March, but I always forget to think Swimming and Summer until some time in April.   So I'm now searching for a place to sign up the 7, 8, 10 and 12 year old for lessons, the 14 year old to learn lifeguard skills, and the 3 and 5 year old to start water safety.   Some day I'll remember that every season is best planned two months before, but I'm almost always playing catch up.  

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