The world has the potential to be amazing, but apart from glimmerings of awesomeness here and there, the overwhelming conditions are pretty terrible (sorry, Mother Earth). One of the reasons behind such a terrible state of affairs is the pervasive effects of both individualism and consumerism, which has led us away from what human nature is about: advancing both at the individual and at the community level.
Author Michael Ungar does a brilliant job of painting why, in a world that offers them more social connections in one year that a mere couple of generations ago would have had in an entire lifetime, children still feel alone, since they are inherently social creature with a desire to help others. He also does a brilliant job of explaining how parents (as well as teachers and coaches) can help children develop this inherent sense of altruism, enhanced by the shockingly contradictory reality offered by today’s "Me-society."
The fact of the matter is that parents work day and night to provide their children with tuition to a great school, all basic material amenities and some extras, like a TV, a computer and more toys that they can play with, but nothing can make up for the basic, human one-on-one contact that was such an important part of the lives of previous generations of children.
Ironically enough perhaps, the fact that these children only have an abundant number of superficial connections makes them want to reach out even more, while the decreasing number of deep in-person connections has robbed them of the environment they need to develop the skills and capacities to do so.
So what can parents do? Is everything that they do wrong?
Certainly not, and that’s a great aspect of this book. Rather than assume that parents are all doing something wrong, the author assumes that most parents are loving, caring, and truly want what is best for children. However, because of the almost pervasive influence of the "Me-society" they live in, parents cannot elp but have their parental discourse be influenced by it. This book isn’t meant to make good parents out of bad ones, but rather to help good parents fight off the influence of the "Me-society."
The book is divided into eight chapters, which the author presents in his preface. The first chapter underlines why and how parents are important, pointing out the things they do for their children out of love in the hopes of keeping them safe and happy, but sometimes that end up doing just the contrary. It ends with a tip list of things a parent can try out.