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on February 22, 2002
"Building Moral Intelligence" by Dr. Michele Borba is a book that every parent should read and own. In a world where there are so many negative influences on the internet, in the media, T.V. shows, magazines etc. many parents do not even realize the amount of immoral influences that our children are witnessing every single day. As parents, it is up to us to teach our children the importance of good character. We need to teach them about the seven essential virtues as Dr. Borba explains in her book!
I realize that I'm digressing from a review, but I want to say this. Our world and our lives have changed recently, but the one thing that remains the same is that our children are the future. And as Theodore Roosevelt said "To Educate a Person in Mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society" This book will not only help you raise good kids, it will open any readers eyes and hearts, inspiring them to build their moral intelligence as well. We must teach by example...this book will help you do that! If you want your kids to do the right thing, then this book is for you!
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There are seven essential virtues--empathy, conscience, self-control, respect, kindness, tolerance, and fairness--that the author believes helps a child deal with ethical challenges and pressures she will encounter throughout life. Each chapter offers strategies for enhancing moral intelligence including...a self-test to evaluate your child's virtue strength, practical ways to enhance the virtue (several to choose from, so you can choose the ones best suited to your child's temperament and learning style), discussion questions to help launch a dialog with your child, and much more. The one thing that was missing was information on what behavior is developmentally appropriate by age. For example the quizzes on each virtue are great...but perhaps it's not as serious if a 4-year-old is somewhat selfish or less empathetic than it is for a 12-year-old. Other than that and the occasional feeling like the book was written for some parents needing significant moral boosting themselves (advice like "don't ask your kids to lie for you"), I found the book very educational and uplifting.
Bottom line - This book provides tools to teach critical ethical principles to your child...enabling parents (teachers, etc.) to better model, inspire and reinforce these moral values.
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on July 4, 2001
While I still maintain a child can best learn from a positive example, unfortunately in today's society, not all parents are setting positive examples. I have counselled many children over the years and in a vast majority of cases, what has contributed most to the need for counselling in the first place has been the absence or lack of adequate parenting skills. There are excellent parents in existence, for many it comes naturally. For others, they never "get the act together." Some individuals, for whatever reason, simply do not possess the bonding ability, tolerance, time, energy, understanding and financial resources to raise a child for the first eighteen years of their life. There are also those parents who feel they are doing "everything right" when in reality, they may be making every mistake in the book.
When a child has become so unhappy, emotionally insecure, rude, defiant and/or physically abusive that the parent(s) can no longer deal with their child, he/she is inevitably pointed in the direction of a counsellor, either by the parent(s) or the courts, to miraculously "fix the problem." In many cases, had the child been raised in a positive, loving, nurturing, understanding, respectful and accepting environment, and learned the importance of moral intelligence, the child would not be sitting in front of me at all. Good relationships, whether it be husband and wife, parent(s) and child, do not just happen. They need time, open communication, commitment, love, understanding, encouragement and a lot of work if they are to grow and survive. "Building Moral Intelligence..." is an excellent learning tool for young, inexperienced parents or any parent who chooses to expand their knowledge on the subject. This book does not have all the answers, no one ever does, but it is an excellent place to start, learn and grow for both parent and child.
In this book, the author bases moral intelligence around seven issues: conscience, empathy, self-control, respect, kindness, tolerance and fairness. I would like to have seen honesty added to the list. Over time, I have seen some very insecure children who feel they do not measure up to their parents' pre-determined standards (or fear the actions of their parents) become pathological liars. Honesty, like the other areas mentioned in the book, is an important key issue to be learned from an early age. The excellent hands-on activities in this book, dealing with everything from conflict resolution to social justice, are the book's most impressive aspect. The positive information presented in this book not only helps to build strong moral intelligence but sets the foundation for healthy, secure, well-adjusted children. Again, the book works best when followed by strong parental examples.
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on June 14, 2001
One of the more encouraging developments in the concern about the character and behavior of our young people has been the publication of books designed to bring the research of social scientists and educators to the public in a format and context that could be easily understood. Thomas Lickona accomplished this in 1981 with his outstanding book Raising Good Children, and William Damon also in 1988 with his The Moral Child. Michele Borba has continued that tradition calling on both the latest research findings as well as her extensive experience as an educator and visiting consultant and her knowledge base as the mother of three sons. She has written a remarkably thorough and yet completely accessible book on the whole topic of building moral intelligence, focusing on seven essential virtues she has identified, that teaches children moral behavior. I wondered how she could possibly succeed at covering such an extensive topic. She does it by presenting interesting scientific data, by skillfully summarizing much of the complex and sophisticated research results in this field, and by innovatively interspersing the science with useful and entertaining experiences and anecdotes that illustrate each virtue and each desirable behavior or issue. The useful general and scientific references are found in her notes at the end. Dr. Borba never strays from her theme and purpose, and in doing so has written arguably the most comprehensive and useful book yet available on the important subject of how we as parents, family members, teachers, and members of the health professions can evaluate and help children to build their moral intelligence. I work with children in a mental hospital, and I only wish that their parents had read or will read this book. It would/will make a critical difference. If you could only afford one book on moral intelligence, this is definitely the one to pick!
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on May 26, 2001
Being the mother of two small girls about to enter the public school system, I have spent many nights worrying what kinds of challenges lay ahead. After reading Dr. Borba's book, I sleep much easier. She provides such a clear desciption of the essential skills that will help parents and teachers prepare kids to succeed. By teaching these virtues to my kids, I know that they will flourish in any situation. Dr. Borba gives practical and easy to use methods to enhance virtues that research has proven reduces aggression in kids. Her examples are entertaining and teach the importance of every moment I spend with my child and the influence I have on developing these traits in her. By offering hard research, then clear descriptions of what each of the seven virtues is, I know how to make a difference in my kids' lives and their ability to cope. The book is filled with resources along with proven methods that are fun to implement and even more fun when I see the changes in my kids everyday. I hope all parents and teachers will take advantage of this great resource, for our kid's sake.
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on August 2, 2001
I applaud this book!
During my 25 years teaching in public schools, I have witnessed a disturbing shift in the way young people view themselves and the world around them. In the midst of troubling news about kids today, Building Moral Intelligence offers a refreshing look at what can be.
A healthy mix of background information, authoritative research, and anecdotal content leads the reader to practical tools to evaluate and encourage positive personal growth. Clearly written and well edited, Dr. Borba's book offers a realistic understanding of current trends, then provides concrete solutions that address each critical issue.
As one of the world's leading authorities on moral development, Dr. Borba has given us a real book for real people. Building Moral Intelligence holds the key to what is possible for kids everywhere. This should be mandatory reading for every parent, every politician, and every citizen who cares about the health of this nation.
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on July 25, 2001
Dr. Michele Borba has a long and successful track record helping build the moral character of our youth. As an educator, I have long been quite familiar with her books and materials on building self esteem. Her concepts are not "feel good" simplistic ideas, but rather she works with the concept that self esteem comes from the acquisition of skills such as the seven virtues in this book. Building Moral Intelligence is an asset to parents who have a difficult job raising moral children in a society that offers many countering forces. I have used her book Parents DO Make a Difference in working with parent groups. I expect this book will be as valuable for parents and educators alike. Working with children and raising a family are both exciting yet challenging jobs. We are lucky to have Dr. Borba's help.
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on February 22, 2003
Very useful prescription to put kids on. It is what's missing in America today. To those who really love their family and our country, be sure to read Building Moral Intelligence by Michele Borba, and also, West Point: Character Leadership Education.. by Norman Thomas Remick.
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on May 29, 2001
At a time when we are hearing nothing but horrendous stories about student shootings and kids' lack of character, it's so refreshing to find a book that offers solutions and shows parents how to raise kids with solid character. And the kinds of tips offered are fabulous: how to fight fair, chores without wars, eliminating sibling rivalry, standing up to bullies, squelching disrespect etc. I love the resource section in the end with 300 children's literature and videos for all ages. This is just a must read!
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on May 28, 2001
If every parent had just one book on their nightshelf this should be the one. It's packed with simple, usable ideas I can use instantly to help my kids become decent human beings. The tips for helping kids stand up to bullies and learn to fight fair are worth the cost of the book alone. If more parents would read this book we really could minimize violence and raise peaceful kids. We should read this book together!
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