Book Review: Mind in the Making by Ellen Galinsky

I’ve been trying to study the Tools of the Mind program from the book by Elena Bodrova like I said I would some time back, but I confess I have not been making much headway. It reads very much like a textbook and I feel like falling asleep before I can even get through one page. It is definitely not like reading Brain Rules for Baby which was written for easy reading. Nevertheless, I still feel the importance of being able to impart the values of a Tools of the Mind program with my children. That was when I came across Mind in the Making by Ellen Galinsky. John Medina recommended it in Brain Rules for Baby, but I’d forgotten all about it until a friend reminded me and sent me the link for it.

Why is this book essential reading for parents?

Mind in the Making addresses 7 essential life skills that every child needs. Unfortunately, these are not skills that children develop naturally on their own – they have to be taught. What’s great about Mind in the Making is that Galinsky not only talks about the science of early learning, but she also offers tips on how you can teach these skills to your children that you can implement today.  If you are a parent of an older child, don’t worry, it’s never too late to start.

What are the 7 essential life skills?

  1. Focus and Self Control
  2. Perspective Taking
  3. Communicating
  4. Making Connections
  5. Critical Thinking
  6. Taking on Challenges
  7. Self-Directed, Engaged Learning

Focus and Self Control

This covers what I’ve been trying to get out of Tools of the Mind. The good news is that I don’t have to look for ways to turn a program made for schools into an at home program. The importance of focus and self control are obviously so children can achieve their goals. Ellen offers parents advice on how they can help their children learn to pay attention, remember the rules, think flexibly, and exercise self control.

Perspective Taking

This covers empathy (an emotion covered in great detail in Brain Rules for Baby) but it also goes beyond that. Perspective taking allows children to figure out what others are thinking and what their intentions are. With this ability, they are less likely to get into conflict with others. I’m sure many adults could do with this as well.

Communicating

This is the converse to perspective taking. In this case, children need to learn how to communicate with others so that they are trying to communicate to others is understood in the same way. If our children can master this skill, their words are less likely to be misconstrued by others. This is another reason why conflicts arise – when we have not communicated our intentions clearly.

Making Connections

This is the ability to link information together – what’s the same, what’s different, and sorting them into categories. Creativity arises when an individual is able to making unusual connections. Being able to make connections allows us to use the information we have access to rather than just knowing the information.

Critical Thinking

I don’t really think this needs explanation. It is clearly a skill we all need in life. We live in a world full of information – both reliable and fallible. It is important to be able to sort through the useful from the useless so we can make good decisions.

Taking on Challenges

Another skill that doesn’t require explanation.

Self-Directed, Engaged Learning

Life is one long journey of learning. We never stop learning. It is important for our children to be able to continue learning on their own and not be reliant on school, teachers, parents and other figures of authority to keep them on the path of learning. Children who can do this on their own will be able to adapt to the changes in the world around them and take on the challenges that life presents them.

As you can see these are 7 essential skills for raising a happy, confident and successful child.

Trackbacks

  1. […] are two of the life skills that Ellen Galinsky talks about in her book Mind in the Making – perspective taking and communicating. These are life skills that must be taught. Given Chris Langan’s upbringing, it is […]

  2. […] are also a number of activities highlighted by Ellen Galinsky in the book “Mind in the Making” that you can use to help your child develop […]