Unmarked Seed Packages
The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, August, 2016
In her new book, University of California, Berkeley professor, Alison Gopnik’s premise is provocative. She believes that much of 21st century parenting is wrong-headed, sometimes obsessive and controlling, and often undertaken with the hope of shaping children into a particular kind of adult. She points out that this is both bad science and bad for children and adults. She is specific about what the alternatives are, making the case for listening to our children, for the value of play, and for parental love for who the child is. She encourages parents to be gardeners, creating the generative, ready, rich, and imaginative ground for their child’s growth, rather than carpenters, who have a finished product in mind before the work even begins. Every chapter will speak directly to any educator who works with parents who have high hopes and no time to wait for the blossoming of unmarked seed packages. Notably, Dr. Gopnik makes her case with an exquisite empathy rather than blame for parents. One finishes this book feeling that there is a real, preferable, and evidence-based alternative response to the pressures many of today’s parents place on themselves, and on their children.