The 7 Habits of Happy Kids: A Book Review
The library is one of our favorite places to visit. Every couple of weeks my husband or I take the boys to browse for an hour or two. I love to see what the boys pick out to bring home. This last week, Aragorn, my five year old, brought home "The 7 Habits of Happy Kids."
I know that he thought it looked like a fun collection of stories to read; stories about bears, squirrels and rabbits. So naturally, he was surprised when I announced that, "No," I would not read it right away.
"The 7 Habits of Happy Kids" would become part of our school curriculum for the next two weeks. He looked at me in awe and wonder, while the older twerps eyed me suspiciously.
What could be in that book?
While waiting for Monday, I found a notebook for each boy to use, and decorating supplies, for personalization.
Are you ready for a sneak peak?
The Story Titles are:
- Bored! Bored! Bored!
- Good and the Bug-Collecting Kit
- Pokey and the Spelling Test
- Lily Plants a Garden
- Jumper and the Lost Butterfly Net
- The Big Bad Badgers
- Sleepy Sophie
Plus it has Parent/Teacher notes and suggestions. These tips and tidbits tell how to effectively use the book and give suggestions for kids to act on, helping them to implement what was learned in each story.
Bored! Bored! Bored!
The first title perturbed me! How dare an author of 'Happiness' consider such a statement to be worth any one's time?
This is not an acceptable statement at my house. In fact, making such a foolish statement is a sure way to spend the next hour or two doing chores. I have always figured a child who wines, hoping to get TV privileges or some other form of entertainment needs dire repercussions. It is no one's job to entertain them. They must interested in something, and proactively seek after it! They must educate themselves in the areas of their interests.
Imagine my surprise, when that was the point of the story:
1. Be Proactive
But, there was more to the story than just being proactive, it had elements of taking responsibility for your life, happiness and entertainment. Blaming no one for your unhappiness and boredom.
After reviewing this section, I asked each boy to write down one thing that they would really like to do, and then make plans to do it.
James has wanted to have a lemonade stand for several months now, so he worked hard on making a detailed list of everything he would need.
- Money Box...
The next day, when we were in the grocery store, he saw lemonade on sale. He had hoped for such, and due to planning ahead, had brought his own money to purchase some with. He bought two containers.
Once we got home, he wrote his name on the lemonade containers, and the price he had paid for them, so he could keep track of expenses and profits!
He has since added cups of two different sizes and napkins to his investment inventory. He has located coolers that he can barrow and a display table.
Goob and the Bug-Collecting Kit
'Goob' a name very near to dear Aragorn's nick name, and bug-collecting is a hobby shared by all of my boys -- this would be a winner, regardless of the point, but the point proves to be a much needed lesson:
2. Begin with the End in Mind
This is a concept I have been trying to instill in the boys mind for sometime. There are many instances where it applies, such as crafting. A typical conversation goes something like this:
Boy: "Mom, I'm going to do an art project!"
Mom: "What are you going to make?"
Boy: "Oh, I don't know. We'll see."
The results? A pile of scraps, glued together, that need to be thrown away. They had fun for a moment, but then are discouraged, because they have nothing to show for it.
So, back to the book, the story contrasts two characters, one who has a plan, and accomplishes it, and another who lives for the moment and has nothing to show for it. It shows how planning ahead allows you to have more in the end, and be able to share.
"A goal not written is a wish"
Pokey and the Spelling Test
Spelling tests? Eww! I hated spelling, and avoided it anyway possible (thank God for spell check and the ability to learn as an adult). I suppose I am not alone, and that is why Sean Covey chose that subject to address procrastination.
Pokey is a porcupine who finds all sorts of activities to distract him from studying, but when test day comes, he fails miserably. (Ooooh, do I know that feeling!) His friends decide to help him study, in order to retake the test, and he learns to Work First, Then Play. Or:
3. Put First Things First
The moral is to just get things done:
- Don't complain.
- Don't procrastinate.
- Just do it.
This was just the sort of thing the boys and I needed to hear. Our chore charts, which worked great for two years, were out of date and in need of reorganizing. The same day that the book was brought home, I had made up new charts and set into effect new routines. Change is hard, but good.
Lily Plants a Garden
Besides that the book was published by Franklin Covey, this title drew my in. I have been planning my garden and scheming of ways to get the kids excited about it. The sub-title of had me curious.
It is the story of a girl who wants to plant a garden, but her mom says it will be too much work. The girl decides to write up what she will do in order to have the garden, and how her mother will benefit from her having a garden. Mom okays the garden, and the girl gets to work. In the end, everyone benefits.
4. Think Win-Win
It is about following the golden rule and helping others to be happy. I'm still wondering how to sell the boys on gardening. Maybe, just maybe, they will get that road-side stand they have been dreaming of... But first, I will have to convince them that selling wildflowers stuffed in tin cans does not go with selling vegetables!
Jumper and the Lost Butterfly Net
Jumper wants to play, but he is so busy thinking about someone to play with him, that he neglects to listen to what his friends are really saying. In the end, he learns to listen with his ears and his heart.
Listening is an important skill, and it requires more than our ears. It is a skill we all need to practice on a regular basis, because less than 10% communication is contained in the words we use. Just think about a baby talking: "Ann, Ehh, Urr!" accompanied with smiling, squirming, pointing and fussing. They say plenty.
Jumper learns to listen before he talks, with his ears and his heart.
5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
The Big Bad Badgers
A story of team work: The friends learn to work together in order to defeat their opponents when playing soccer. This is a lesson my family needed. I tend to be of the mindset, "A team of one gets things done," but this story pointed out the power of synergy. They focused on each person using their strengths, and together, won the game:
6. Together is Better
I coached soccer one summer, and know full well the need to work together. We lost the first two games of the season because the kids fought each other for the ball -- each wanting to be the best.
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
Sophie stays away at night reading, but then falls asleep during class the next day. Her mother confronts her on the issue of being unbalanced in her life and not taking care of her whole body. I find I am a little too much like Sophie to say too much, but the idea of being balanced is very appealing. This book shows four areas to be balanced in: body, heart, mind and soul.
7. Balance Feels Best
Part of the reorganization of the chores was setting aside time each day to do one big task. We now have a baking day and a banking/correspondence day. We have a building/sewing day and a finishing day. Everyday has time for reading and play.
7 Habits for All Ages
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