Tag Archives: children

The Sandcastle – Iris Murdoch


As far as I could find out, this novel has not been published in Italian. And I wonder wich kind of copyright reasons prevented it to be published in the USA too… maybe because the author was a friend of Sartre? It seems that all of her books have not been published in the USA. Very odd…

Anyway, let me say that this writer was a great surprise to me!

It doesn’t happen so much in this novel that takes place at the end of the  Fifties: the main carachter is a middle-aged school master (I think between 40 and 50) falls in love with a young artist and all his life is endangered, his marriage, his two children, his political future… At the end the young painter goes away and Mor, remains with his family and embrace the candidature as a member of the Parliament.

Iris Murdoch was so great in depicting the feelings and the faults of this man! It is not easy to take the part of a member of opposite sex, for a writer. She show us how Mor is just a man, who is not able to face the conformity of his environment, and she describe it very well in few lines here, when the lover is going away and he doesn’t manage to follow her because he is surrounded by his colleagues and friends:

(…) although Mor struggled in his seat he could not bring himself to get up. A lifetime of conformity was too much for him.

A counter-hero, at the end, who is incapable of telling his wife his reasons, a man who postpones explanations and who prefers to talk about silly issues to avoid more important and deep discussions.

He hardly takes a decision to go with his lover, and he immediately feels light-hearted, but this is just a sandcastle, because he is not able to go on accepting the consequences of this decision.

A very immature man, therefore. But we all have a bit of him in ourselves. This is why I suggest to read this book.



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Man and Boy – Tony Parsons


The story is about a young man who is turning 30 and who destroy his previous life in a couple of days. First of all, he betrays his wonderful wife and she left him. Secondly, they fire him. The most engaging task is to take care of his 4 y. o. son, because till now he did not make anything with him and left the Whole work to his wife. The second task is to convince his new love, an American waitress with a daughter, to stay with him.

So: nothing new under the sky. But the way in wich the author describes problems and actions manages to let you feel like the carachter. This is the main reason I would suggest you to read this book: because even if you never separated, never had to care about your son, never met the hurdles of a divorce, you feel compassion for Harry Silver as you were involved in his problems.

The most touching part of the book, in my opinion, is where Harry’s father falls ill and dies. Because the protagonist finds out how much he resembled his father: and this is a feature that I notice in my life too! But you discover it just when you have a son, I fear… not earlier.

At the end: well build carachter and well Worth book!


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Raising boys: why boys are different and how to help them become happy and well-balanced men – Steve Biddulp


You could ask: why should I read a book about boys, after decades of female battles to avoid discrimination? Considering that women are still now far away from being on the same level of their counterparts?

Maybe, because by raising boys in the right way, we can help women and men to live together in a better way?
Actually, after all these feminist battles, boys are nowadays a little discriminated.Yes, this is not a premeditated discrimination, but we cannot deny that boys are different. Go and take a look at children in a classroom: on one side yo see girls chatting and laughing; on the other side you see boys running and screaming.

This is a brain issue, an hormon issue and a cultural issue.

Biddulph is a firm advocate of late entering of boys into school: they are slower than girls, at the beginning, because development happens in a different way. If they enter school together with same age girls, they see themselves as awkward and this has a negative influence on their future behavious and self-estime.

But the part where the author insists the most, is about the mentor.
Boy lives can be distinguished in several parts: first years (when they are strictly bound to their mothers), from 7 to 12-13 years (link with fathers) and after.

After the family, a mentor can be the solution to anticipate deviations. Mentor cannot be coeval to the boy, at the same development stage, but something older; he must be a person whom the boy trust in, maybe an uncle or a family friend, someone who doesn’t judge, but gives suggestions without let them appear like suggestions. Maybe during a fishing game or a race.

Useful book, of course.
The majority of examples refer to Australian or American lifestile. For instance, here in Italy the phenomenom of very Young mother is not so widespread.
Another thing that I do not like very much, are the short stories inside the essay. And, to be mean, I really do not appreciate all drawings… they are cute, but I do not find them so necessary. This book is not meant to be ready by teenagers, but by adult parents: I hope that a 30 or 40 y.o. parent can be able to read a book without too many blanks or cartoons.

Well, ok… I must admit: if such cartoons are useful to draw people who is not accustomed to reading… ok, cartoons are welcome.

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The 4-hour Workweek – Timothy Ferriss


No matter if you are an employer or an employee: you probably think that you have to work harder and harder, the more the better, for a life, and then, at the end, when you will be 60, 65 or 70, you will enjoy the rent.
This is not what Ferris wanted. He experienced this way of life but decided that it was not for him.

He now works 4 hours each week and earns around 40.000 $ each month (at the beginning of his career he earned 40.000 $ each year, by working 80 hours a week). Well, it is not 100% clear to me wich job he does now, I only understand that he can work through a computer everywhere he is.

His suggestions are valid both for the ones who do not want to quit their current job and for the ones who cannot stand for it anymore. My opinion is that this model is not applicable to Italian working system, it requires too much flexibility from the company owners: if you show that you can do the job in half the time, the owner won’t give you the other hours from free, but he will double your work;-)

Anyway I believe that every want-to-be leader should read this book, at least to learn the meeting rules that will avoid you to lose time!! Please do, time wasting is not only money wasting… at least for the parts where he underlines the need to fix the duration and to inform the colleagues about the topics.

Another suggestion that is often difficult to let the sales leaders understand, is that you have not to accept each customer all around the world. Please remember the Pareto rule: the 20% of the clients made the 80% of the turnover! Why are you wasting time and peaceful minds to follow up clients who do little and make you angry at the end of the day??

Well, Tim Ferriss also suggests to lower at the lowest level the… customer care. This can be partially done through the Pareto Rule but then…. well, Tim, customer care is my job. After having cut all time spending activities, how can I spare more time to focus on the 20% customers?
Answer: I cannot. I am just an employee.

And last but not least: Ferris you are Young and have no experience in children at all. Believe me, with children is not that simple.

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Full of Life – John Fante


I thought that this was the authobiography of a writer; actually, it is the autobiography of a becoming father.

The story starts when Fante has already experienced the poverty but hungry years are over now: he has a wife and a nice house.

But his wife is pregnant and her personality offers a new side each day.

The biggest problem, however, arises when the house is invaded by white ants. The chipest solution is to take a plane and meet his father and ask him, a bricklayer, to help them with the floor and the walls that are softer than a chocolate cake.

Well: Fante’s parents are Italian immigrants. The description of his mother fainting down when he pops up in front of her, is simply exhilarating. Exaggerated? Not so much!

And the dislike of his father for books? And the second-rate theology of the Italian priester? And the wife who wants to become catholic?

So cure, this book.

Just the happy end is irrealistic: it seems that all problems are over when the child is born.

Well, my guy, this is just the beginning…

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What do you really want for your children? – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

imageThe more I read on children management, the more I grow convinced that, before working on children, we must work on ourselves.

If a child curses, doesn’t eat, spits, is sad, first of all you, parent, shall work on yourself, because you probably curse, have some eating disorder, spit, are sad.

Do you lack of resilience? So will probably your child.

Do you suffer from depression? So will probably your child.

Do you always give the fault of your situation to other people, economy, world? Well, so probably will your child

You would never guess that you harm your son by telling him to put gloves and cap before going out in the snow, would you? Well, it depends how and how often you tell this. You could nurture in him the fear for his health. And a fear, wichever it can be, it is alten a self-fulfilling prophecy.

My son is almost seven years old. Each day, while I wait for him coming out from his classroom, I watch the parents and the relatives chatting on the courtyard and on the road. Have you ever noticed how few persons are joyful? How few human beings are smiling?

Have you ever listened to their chats? They are usually criticizing other parents for doing or not doing certain things. If not, they are deploring taxes, low incomes, illnesses, weather, prices, meals, facebook, relatives, roads, doctors, jobs, neighbours, traffic, diets, religions, movies…

We are training children to grow exactly like we are.

We are stopped by our fears, and we tell them day by day. pay attention to this, pay attention to that… We focus on problems, instead of solutions. We live in the past or in the future, forgetting the present. We regret to be judged, but we judge every step we take.

We are opting for heavy lives and are robbing our children of choice power.

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