Combat Bullying – Learn How To Teach Your Children Empathy and Acceptance…The Kindness Advantage by Dr. Dale Atkins and Amanda Salzhauer

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My Review:

The world can often be harsh, and lucky for us, authors Dale Atkins PhD and Amanda Salzhauer, MSW are giving all families a leg up with tips and ideas for how to be kind in their new book, The Kindness Advantage, Cultivating Compassionate and Connected Children.  Based on research, this guide provides ways for adults to nurture kindness in our children, teaching them from a young age to be empathetic, compassionate fulfilled people.

According to authors Atkins and Salzhauer, The 10 Fundamentals of Kindness are:

Acceptance – Commitment – Connection – Empathy – Giving – Interest – Nurturing – Observing – Questioning – (be) Yourself

Each one is described and explained in the book, and applied to real life situations.  Asking our children how they want to be treated leads to a discussion of how to treat others and in the book there are lots of examples and ideas on how to cultivate kinder children.

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I was lucky enough to hear Dr. Dale Atkins speak, and she said, based on research, whether we do an act of kindness, are on the receiving end of an act of kindness, or we merely witness an act of kindness, there are real mental, physical, emotional and spiritual benefits as a result of the increased flow of endorphins.  That is great news because collectively we have the opportunity to make the world a kinder place if we all incorporate more kindness into our family life.

Also included in the book are incredibly helpful tools for breathing, visualization, and meditation for children. Recommended books and apps are listed at the back, as well as journal questions and space for answers and personal notes.   Charity is good and conversation makes the difference so pick up a copy of The Kindness Advantage to help guide you and your family.  It is a perfect gift for everyone in contact with young children… grandparents and teachers too!

Goodreads Summary

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About the Authors:

Dale Atkins, Ph.D.

Dale Atkins is a licensed psychologist with more than forty years of experience as a relationship expert focusing on families, wellness, managing stress, and living a balanced, meaningful life.

Author of seven books and many chapters, articles, and journals for popular and professional audiences, Dale is a featured speaker who lectures and leads seminars worldwide, often about raising financially responsible, charitable children.  Dale is a frequent guest expert in the media and appears regularly on NBC’s TODAYand CNN. Dale has a private psychology practice in New York City and has been a member of and advisor to several nonprofit boards, including Jumpstart for Young Children, from which she recently retired after serving twenty-two years, since its founding. She has two children and six grandchildren, and lives in Connecticut. She can be found on Twitter (@DrDaleAtkins), Facebook, and at drdaleatkins.com.

Amanda Salzhauer, MSW

Amanda Salzhauer has a Master’s degree in social work and has worked as a social worker in clinics and private practice.

She currently serves as secretary of the Horace Mann School board, president of the board of Riverdale Neighborhood House, and sits on the Advisory Council of Child Help Partnership at St John’s University. At Dartmouth College Hillel she helped raise funds for the construction and endowment of the Roth Center for Jewish Life, which is now in its twentieth year. Amanda is an active member of her synagogue, where she developed and instituted the Sharing the Spirit of Shabbat program to give families the opportunity to participate in a community service project. She has three children and lives in Bronx, New York.

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The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

 

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My Review:

Four children from a Jewish family on the lower east side of Manhattan visit a psychic in the summer of 1969 and are told the date they will die.  Does this information, this prediction, change the way they choose to live?  That question is left unanswered in The Immortalists, as we follow each of the siblings’ lives.   Author Chloe Benjamin provides us with a mesmerizing story of these rich characters, and their choices about how to live.  Simon, the youngest brother, moves to California to live his truth and gets caught up in the reckless ’80s sexual revolution.  His journey out west begins with his sister Klara, who is irresponsible in many ways and chooses to become a magician.  Daniel, the oldest brother is conflicted at work; he is a doctor in the army and must give clearance to young men, less fortunate than he. to serve in the military.  And Vanya is involved in anti-aging research, as she reduces caloric intake of primates to extend their lives.  We witness the strengthening and deterioration of relationships and we hope things will turn out ok, but do they?  Throughout the book I couldn’t help but question if the characters’ choices were made because of the knowledge they received regarding their death.

Another question to think about is:  quality or quantity…do you want to live a long time or live well during the time you have?  Would you want to know the date of your own death?

Some of what Chloe Benjamin writes about is based on her own knowledge and experiences; she grew up in California in the 80s, with a gay parent, a Jewish parent, and immigrant grandparents.  She was a ballet dancer and her mother was an actor…all of which influenced the setting and characters.  She also did massive research to learn about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military, primate research, magicians and magic.  The narrative was rich with information and I really enjoyed the format, each section written about a different character.

The Immortalists, for me, was a lesson about embracing life and trying not to worry about the unknown.  It is a balance, like science and religion, to navigate our lives by making choices based on what we know to be true and what we believe is true.  I highly recommend this book!

As seen on Goodreads:

If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

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About the Author:

Chloe Benjamin is the author of THE IMMORTALISTS, a New York Times Bestseller, #1 Indie Next Pick for January 2018, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, #1 Library Reads pick, and Amazon Best Book of the Month.

Her first novel, THE ANATOMY OF DREAMS (Atria, 2014), received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize.

Her novels have been translated into over twenty-three languages. A graduate of Vassar College and the M.F.A. in fiction at the University of Wisconsin, Chloe lives with her husband in Madison, WI.

One Station Away by Olaf Olafsson

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My Review:

Reading this book I was pleasantly surprised…it was not what I expected, knowing the author, Olaf Olafsson, a successful businessman, is the Executive Vice President of Time Warner and was responsible for introducing Sony PlayStation.

 One Station Away is a thoughtful story about Magnus, a Yale neurologist, and three important women in his life; his patient, his fiancé and his mother.   He conducts research on head trauma patients who appear to have no mental capabilities but in fact may be conscious and communicative.  He spends many evenings holding his patient’s hand and feeling powerless to help as he thinks of ways to try and connect with her.  Magnus struggles with the recent loss of his
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