It will be of great help to your kid, but maybe probably an even greater help to you, my dear reader (parent/teacher).
More than a year has passed since this book arrived at our home.
It is waiting on the shelf, until my twins mature. It is written for kids aged between 8-12, although I am certain that it can be used successfully with kids a bit younger and older than that age range.
I knew when I was ordering it that it was one of the most important books of our collection.
It may not be a masterpiece, but it is revolutionary.
This is a book that will open my mind to what is in their hearts.
Although I have a great relationship with my boy and girl, I also know that I will not really be able to know what my twins are thinking about many important choices in life.
How should a parent approach many complex issues?
Well, the first thing to ask yourself is do we as parents really know what is the real issue that is bugging our kids. What is the obstacle that is keeping them down?
We need to keep opening doors, because life has a way of closing some of them for our boys and girls.
So, let us chose to open the doors with books.
The strongest principle of growth lies in the human choice.
Some read-aloud books are for pleasure, while others are for diversion and for other purposes.
As a parent I do not want books merely to serve as literacy tools. Literacy is important, of course.
But as our kids grow - it is important to show them that books can also help to fill their other needs, wants and even voids in life.
How can you as a parent be sure that you will tackle the very moral issues that will face your kids in life?
Well, as author Sandra McLeod Humphrey explains - "it is never too early to begin talking with our children about values and to help them define and develop their code of moral conduct".
I love the idea of her book If You Had to Choose, What Would You Do? as it provides 25 separate stories that can be read aloud and then analyzed together - as each of the stories is followed by a handful of open-ended ethical questions.
Is it wrong to cheat on a test if everybody else is doing it?
Does it really matter how you win?
Should you return the money to your race sponsors, if you are unable to finish the race?
What should you do if you saw someone who lost money on the street and your best friend insists that you keep it?
If your sister makes you promise not to tell that she's doing something wrong, should you tell your parents?
When your best friends are fighting, should you pick sides?
If You Had to Choose, What Would You Do?, which was written by a licensed and award-winning psychologist, is an excellent resource that will provide a great opportunity for bonding during read-aloud time.
This book is a great vehicle that facilitates adult-child communication and it will you allow to expand the ideas that are explored in the stories (each story is three-pages long) to easily include examples of dilemmas that could currently be preoccupying your own child.
What I specifically love about the book is that it does not recommend "correct answers" to the moral and ethical issues that are expounded in the stories.
In fact, the process of exploring all facets of the ethical dilemmas is more important than a mere true/false response to the questions raised.
Although it may seem that my goal with these books is to learn what my kids think about complex moral issues that (will) face them - in fact my real motivation as a parent is to help them to consider these issues in the comfort and security of their armchair before such issues spiral out of control in real life (as they sometimes do).
I was rejoicing when I found out that Sandra McLeod Humphrey wrote three more books similar to this one - all of which are now gracing the shelves of our library. Should you be interested in them as well, the individual titles (click on the covers on the side for more info about each title from Amazon) are:
- More If You Had to Choose What Would You Do?,
- It's Up to You... What Do You Do? and
- Hot Issues, Cool Choices: Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure, Popularity, and Put-downs.
Reading aloud is a magical portal that will allow us to get in touch with the important stuff in the lives of our kids.
So, let's all think ahead and let's get ready to guide our kids through everyday problems by .. reading aloud.
If You Had to Choose, What Would You Do? is available from bookstores in the US:
The Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)
and from other countries: