It’s summer, and that means summer reading. I have done much of my reading this summer through audio books, as I listen while doing chores — painting rooms, doing dishes, etc. Two themes for this summer: Race and Adolescence.
Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving. Irving does a compelling job of describing her racial awakening. Her stories of growing up in a white household that didn’t speak about race resonate with me. The questions at the end of each chapter are great opportunities to reflect alone or with friends.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates describes his growing up and coming of age in Baltimore, Washington, DC, and New York City in this book written to his 15 year old son. A powerful perspective that I’ll write more about.
Takeaways: We need to be be having conversations and race in the United States. The culture of silence needs to end. As a white person, I don’t have to engage in this conversation, but if I don’t, I’ll be leaving my children and students a world that is worse off than it is now.
The Teenage Brain, A Neuroscientists Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults by Frances E. Jensen and Amy Ellis Nutt. A thorough description of current adolescent brain research and it’s implications for parents.
Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence by Laurence Steinberg. Sternberg similarly describes current adolescent brain research an adds a number of chapters with concrete recommendations for parents and educators, specifically targeting recommendations for adding physical activities and mindfulness activities to improve self-discipline for adolescents.
Takeaways: Adolescents is a period of great brain growth (brain plasticity). The more we provide positive reinforcements for intellectual pursuits, physical activities and self-discipline, along with clear boundaries in places where adolescents can get into trouble, the more positive development we will see in adolescents in society.
What are you reading? Where are you stretching yourself?