18 February 2014

"Teach Me To Be Happy" Book Review and Giveaway!

Several weeks ago I was approached by Laura Kyle of Pete and Buzz to review a new book she has written called "Teach Me To Be Happy". Being the book lover I am I immediately jumped at the chance to give her book a read. But after watching the trailer (yeah they have trailers for books now... its a thing) I knew it was going to be something I was into!

Honestly friends, I sat down one evening and read this book "cover to cover". 

Teach Me To Be Happy has been a labour of love for Kyle. She writes from her own desire to cultivate happiness in her own children and her knowledge and passion is evident in the book. Kyle works from the premise that 'happiness' is not in fact a trait we are all born with. Positivity and optimism, as well as happiness are all things that must be cultivated; and as parents, this responsibility falls to us.

I truly enjoyed reading this book. Its an easy read and each chapter seemed to offer me something to take away from it. If you know me, you'll know that I love my "nugget", the "takeaway" aspect of any conversation or book; and this book did not disappoint.

Many of the ideas are ones which my husband and I have already discussed as things we would like to be intentional about in our family as we raise our children, but others were either new to me or gave clear guidelines as to how to put them into practice.

I don't want to give everything away but I do want to share some of my favourite 'takeaways' and quotes from the book.

In the chapter entitled 'Effort Based Praise' Kyle writes

"Praise for just being amazing can do more harm than good", she says "Affirmation is powerful. It is supposed to make us feel confident, capable, sure of ourselves, happy. But it has the power to tangle all of us within a web of dependancy- always looking for the next hit of approval..." 

I loved this quote and it hit me right between the eyes. Since Bob is a youth pastor we see loads of kids who have obviously been 'victims' of too much praise (of course we also see many who don't have enough too). I think we all know those people who have been told they are just 'good' at something or a 'natural', while this may be true, Kyle says it may not be the best avenue for praise.

I'm just now starting to see the effects of praise on Hazel and I can see that she craves it. While I think that at this stage its natural (and of course good) for me to praise her, I want to start now praising her for the effort, not just the result. I want Hazel to "welcome the creative struggle. No need to maintain any image of perfection" which Kyle writes can be the outcome of Effort-Based Praise. It seems when someone is told they are a 'natural' at something it becomes almost part of their identity, so if they do fail or struggle, they don't know where to turn.

Another lovely 'nugget' for me was in the chapter 'Motivation and Success', Kyle writes,

"Let children pursue things that are meaningful to them. Let them set personal goals and own their successes." 

If you have ever wondered, as I have, how to cultivate an independent and confident child, motivated not by bribery or promise of some reward, but by their own self satisfaction and joy... there are some excellent tips for you here. Similarly, in her chapter on 'Independence and Responsibility' Kyle writes about "free range parenting" and developing self-confidence.

Some other favourite chapters were; 'Creativity', where Kyle says that one of the best gifts we can give our children is time, time to explore, wander, discover. She writes that her own children, two boys, don't often get bored and that they have kept toys to a minimum, letting the boys 'be bored' and discover how to occupy their time with their own creativity and imaginations. The chapter on 'Gratitude' and how to cultivate it, as well as the chapter on 'Outdoor Loving', which is dear to my heart, were also excellent.

Overall, Teach Me To Be Happy offers wonderful and insightful advice on how to raise independant, gracious, confident, and yes, happy children. Its an excellent read for parents and educators alike. 

We all want our children to be happy, and as parents we go to great lengths to ensure their happiness, I believe that the information presented in this book will help to propel you into more intentional parenting as well as be a catalyst for further reading and discussion in your home. 

I really hope that you will all pick up a copy of this book available in digital form at Teach Me To Be Happy. But before you do that you should enter to WIN a copy right here!

I am so excited to host my first giveaway, especially for something that I actually believe will be really useful to you! Im happy to say that FIVE, thats right five winners will be chosen to receive a digital copy of "Teach Me To Be Happy" 

** I received a copy of 'Teach Me To Be Happy' free of charge with no promise to review. All opinions and reflections are my own, and reflect how I genuinely feel about the material **

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  1. So excited about this giveaway! I am just zooming through my list of books to read - This one will have to go at the top of my next book list! <3

  2. I still don't do the twittering... :) What a great giveaway! I love following her instagram feed.


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