I've just completed the Introduction and Chapter 1 of The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey and my first impressions of what is to come are favorable. First and foremost, the author is not a lecturing, "How-could-you?" voice of condemnation. To the contrary, she employs a reassuring, "I'm-with-you" voice as she offers her own parenting approach up for us to understand the journey to raising self-sufficient children.
Ms. Lahey does a particularly masterful job of outlining the history of parenting in America from colonization through the present day in a manageable and entertaining 14 page first chapter. As a father of three, four and under (and a daughter who is 4 going on 16...), I was particularly drawn to her John Locke quotations. Here is one of those gems:
"Locke advises, 'crying is very often a striving for mastery and an open declaration of their insolence or obstinacy: when they have not the power to obtain their desire, they will by their clamor and sobbing maintain their title and right to it' (emphasis Locke's, and I can almost hear the derision dripping from those horrid, emotional words)."
Lahey goes on to outline the progression from parenting as a matter of survival to the helicopter/interventionist approach of today: "Today, parenting is less oxytocin-soaked rosy glow, more adrenaline-fueled oncoming headlight glare."
I recommend it heartily and if the above quotation offers anything, it should be an indication of the sensibility and humor with which Ms. Lahey approaches her subject matter.