Friday, August 19, 2011

A month ago Little Nippers posted a review on A Kid's Guide to Being a Winner, a book which helps teach the meaning behind words such as Respect, Responsibility and Thoughtfulness, to name a few. Below, C.D Shelton author of this great book, writes about a few more important words: Stereotyping and Generalizations, as he shares a recent discussion he has with his 13 year old niece:

Stereotyping and Generalizations
by C.D. Shelton

By listening, you can learn a great deal from young people. My niece is thirteen and lives with my wife and I. She is entering the eighth grade. And, as one can expect, she is subject to peer pressures, which shapes her thinking and interests.

On the topic of class selection, and our recommendation that she select “Orchestra” as an elective, her response was “Orchestra” is for “Nerds” ergo, not for her. Patience is required in these kinds of exchanges. We explained that the interpretation of some words go through a sort of evolution as time passes, based on the usage. We explained, that years ago, the word “Nerd” referred to a person that was not particularly athletically inclined, not as, in today’s usage, a person who is intellectually adept. Not finished with the topic, we pointed out that labels that stereotype people are usually wrong. It places people in categories into which they don’t necessarily belong, (like, women are bad drivers or blonds are dumb).

Like “stereotyping”, broad, sweeping “generalizations” are usually wrong. For example, this conversation on the use of mascara, again with my thirteen your old niece. “But Aunt Dani, ALL of the girls are wearing it and they have their parent’s permission.”

As I mentioned earlier, if you listen to young people you’ll learn. You’ll learn what they don’t understand. “Orchestra and mascara” were the operative words that stimulated a discussion centered around the uniqueness of each person. By stereotyping or generalizing we place individuals into categories, to which, they may not belong. In other words, stereotyping or generalizing ignores the uniqueness of the individual.

It’s a tough lesson, but one we all need to learn at some point in our life. It’s a lesson better learned early, than later.

C.D Shelton is a College Professor who enjoys writing Action/Adventure novels. A Kid's Guide to Being a Winner is his first non-fiction and inspirational book for kids. See below for a Little Nippers review:

It’s a fact; when you ask a child to define the word respect many will become tongue-tied, however, if asked what a brontosaurus is most of them can answer! This is an interesting observation that I cannot take credit for. Fortunately, my two children attend Tae Kwon Do with a very insightful teacher who has not only made this observation but has taught them the meaning of the word respect.

Nevertheless, it is a tough concept for young children to grasp. Recently, however, I’ve discovered a book that can help parents teach the meaning behind this very important word along with a few others. A Kid’s Guide to Being a Winner by author C.D Shelton is written for the young reader and is an excellent resource. C.D Shelton knows how to reach kids! This book is straightforward and easy to read. And although it is not your typical story book it successfully captures the attention of its targeted audience. My children have asked to read it quite frequently.

Every spread has an illustration that corresponds to the text and teaches the meaning of the words: Responsible; Thoughtful; Respect; Gratitude and Positive Mental Attitude.

At my house, we read this book in an interactive way. At the beginning of each chapter I asked my children to try to define the meaning of the highlighted word and after every page I asked them to describe the illustration and find the meaning behind each. For example; after we looked at an illustration that showed 2 children holding baseball equipment in their hands, knocking on the door of a house with a broken window, I asked “How is this child being responsible?” The responses that follow usually initiate many more discussions.

I honestly cannot say enough about this book. Parents and teachers, I urge you to seek it out for your youngsters! It can be found on Amazon.

Thank you C.D Shelton for writing such an inspirational book that addresses the values I’m trying to instill in my children!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a great book- and a wonderful conversation starter between children and their caregivers!

    I found you through Book Blogs and signed up to follow you. When you have a chance- please stop by the blog for my middle grade novel that I am hoping to get published.

    Take care-
    Jess- although I may show up as Fairday, the main character from my novel. I can't figure out why that happens sometimes and I can't fix it. :)