Mind In The Making

Imagine a combination of an extremely knowledgeable and compassionate child psychologist and the parent you most respect advising you on the best way to raise your child. That’s what you get with Ellen Galinsky’s insightful new book, Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs (Harperstudio, 2010).

As an education journalist, I’ve read numerous research reports on the latest discoveries about child development, and even more manuals on parenting skills. What this book does brilliantly is to bring these two perspectives together. As President of the Families and Work Institute, Galinsky has written extensively on child psychology; in this book she closes the gap between what researchers have discovered and how parents have been informed about these findings. Coming up with seven essential life skills, she describes the work of over seventy research scientists in terms easy for the layperson to understand, and follows this with practical tips for parents to put to use immediately. Importantly, she emphasizes that “We don’t need expensive programs, materials, or equipment to promote these skills. We can promote them in everyday ways through the everyday fun things we do with children.”

Although she agrees that children do need to learn specific information such as facts, figures, and concepts, she believes that we have neglected the learning skills that are equally essential: Focus and Self Control, Perspective Taking, Communicating, Making Connections, Critical Thinking, Taking on Challenges, and Self-Directed, Engaged Learning. A child’s approach to knowledge is as crucial as the information itself, the author believes.

Here’s how a typical chapter works: the topic of chapter two is Perspective Taking. We read about Galinsky’s work on this skill, along with anecdotes from several parents (A Parent’s Perspective: What would Captain Hook do?) and select exercises in which we, the readers, can test our awareness of this skill. This is followed by a discussion on why perspective taking is important for children, how other researchers have explored the issue, and how perspective taking develops at different stages of childhood. Finally come the suggestions for parents ( Suggestion 2: View Teaching Children To Be With Others As Equally Important As Teaching Them Independence. Suggestion 5: Talk About Feelings – Yours and Theirs) with plenty of ideas on how to implement this skill. What could be (and often is) dry research is instead presented in a way that is both easily understood and user-friendly.

Galinsky writes with compassion in a clear, concise manner. Her pace is brisk, and rather than the guilt trip that parenting books seem to like laying on parents, this book is rooting for parents to understand children’s development in new ways by providing numerous how-to suggestions that don’t cost a penny.

Teachers, too, will find much of practical use in Galinsky’s work. As a high school teacher, I related particularly to the author’s interviewing several researchers on their results, and discovering that the most highly rated programs were those that led to a community where administrators, teachers, parents and children were all learning together. Many teachers will tell you that those are the best teaching days. As Galinsky states, “My interviews revealed that the adults fostered children’s motivation by being motivated themselves.”

WIth her fresh approach, Galinsky brings joy and excitement to the hard work of parenting and teaching. Yes, parenting is a challenge, but it can also bring enormous rewards. Galinsky brings this spirit to her important book.

Creative Commons - abbybatchelder
Judy Molland


Kathy T.
Kathy T9 years ago

This sounds like good advice for children and parents. I like to get new hints on this topic

Jewels S.
julie S9 years ago

This sounds like something that every parent and teacher should read and now!

Marge M.
Marge M9 years ago

love care2
great posts

Doctor V.
Doctor V9 years ago

WE DEMAND FULL DISCLOSURE AND ACCOUNTABILITY for GEOEngineering and Climate manipulation that has been going on for years!!!

Are you aware that the government admits to the deployment of aerosolized particulates of known toxicity over America for training in military applications and other purposes? Geoengineering? Climate Control?



HAARP and Beyond - Dr. Nick Begich VERY INFORMATIVE...


Jesse Ventura investigates HAARP

"I can’ t believe that people spend time on the internet arguing about “contrails versus
chemtrails” when this has been going on openly for decades. Call it what you want, the
military has been spraying us without our permission for generations."
the full article -


See the "Contrails in the Media" section near the bottom of the page... KNBC 4 in LA, the Weather Channel, PBS

Signs of toxic chemicals used to Modify Climate showing up in drinking water??? Hmmm... on KNBC 4, LA and KTVU 2, SF Bay area...


Linda M.
Linda M9 years ago

everyone, please sign and share:


thanks so much

Linda M.
Linda M9 years ago

love this. thanks.

DORIS L9 years ago

Spending time with your growing children is where it's at.

Paula B.
Paula B9 years ago

I don't think anything is better for the education of our children than parents spending time, one one one, with their kids. Playing, reading, sports, whatever, kids won't thrive without that direct care and attention.

I certainly agree with this one: Suggestion 2: View Teaching Children To Be With Others As Equally Important As Teaching Them Independence.

I've seen parents so, so proud that their kid doesn't fuss and is independent, but completely unconcerned that they can't play with others (hit and shove, etc). We Americans have taken the mania for independence to ludicrous levels.

Cynthia Samuels
Cynthia Samuels9 years ago

Thanks for all your comments on this. Since we launched the Education Channel we've worked to provide different perspectives and Judy, with her long teaching experience, was certainly the best person to evaluate this particular book.
Do any of you have other education issues you'd like to hear about? Send them to cindys@care2team.com. Cindy

Mervi R.
Mervi R9 years ago

Interesting, thanks!