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How to Love Bigger, Better, More

October 20, 2009 | The Main Dish | 4 comments

Let's not lie. Despite his controversial views on parenting, I love Michael Lewis. I LOVE his book about parenting, even though much of it goes against what I preach; I love his sense of humor; I love that he predicted the current financial meltdown 20 years before it happened in a book that Thomas Wolfe says is the funniest non-fiction book ever written about Wall Street. I love that Michael Lewis has been writing about corruption in the financial and mortgage industries ever since. The excerpt from Homegame that was printed in the July issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, made me PEE MY PANTS it is so funny. (I'm not kidding: I was alone in bed reading, and I laughed so hard I peed.)

I also cried—albeit a totally different type of tears—when I saw the trailer to the movie The Blind Side, which is based on Michael Lewis's book of the same title. What I thought was a book about football is a biography of Michael Oher, a homeless African-American kid from the Memphis inner-city who has since risen to football greatness. This story also goes against much of what I preach as a sociologist and firm believer in the growth-mindset, but just watch the trailer and you'll see what made me cry: that fierce love of Oher's white, wealthy, Southern spitfire adoptive mother, played by Sandra Bullock.

   
The Blind Side Movie Trailor
 

What made me cry was how much I related to the Sandra Bullock character. I could feel, deep in my bones, the incredible power of her love, the sheer force of it overcoming all notions of class, race—even biological parenthood. I imagine that adoptive parents must feel this all the time.

When I became a parent, my capacity for love grew exponentially. When my first-born, Fiona, arrived, I thought I was going to burst I loved her so much. I was sure that I could never love another human-being as much as I loved her. But then Molly was born, and I realized that I loved her that much, too, and that it didn't detract from the big love I felt for Fiona. And then the epiphany: I could love others—both adults and children—with the same openness and ferocity. I had become fully aware of how much love I really have to share, and of the incredible power of that love.

Kids may be a pain in the neck sometimes, as Lewis is quick to point out. But they also teach us to love bigger, better, more. And that, I think, is the real key to happiness.

Greed, Games, and Goodness
More evidence that Michael Lewis is not as self-absorbed as he implies: he's doing a Greater Good Science Center event for us this week. 100% of the money raised by ticket sales will benefit the GGSC and support this blog. In Greed, Games, and Goodness: A Conversation Between Michael Lewis and Dacher Keltner, Lewis and GGSC Faculty Director Keltner will be discussing the state of fatherhood and whether or not it is making women unhappy, among other things.

And depending on which tickets you buy, some of the cost may be tax-deductable! Lewis is donating his time, and all our costs are being underwritten by The Quality of Life Foundation. So please: if you like Half Full and you think the work that we do at the GGSC is important, bring all your friends to our event (if you live in the area), and spread the word to your Bay Area friends (even if you aren't nearby)!

» Buy your tickets now
» I can't come, but I'd like to make a donation to support you

See Lewis Live
Buy Your Tickets Now
Friday, October 23rd, 2009
7:30 pm at the Zellerbach Playhouse
UC Berkeley campus

Join us for an evening of lively conversation between Michael Lewis and Dacher Keltner. Known for his puckish humor and inimitable commentary, Lewis—author of Liar's Poker, The Blind Side, and Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood—will talk with Keltner about the economic meltdown, sports, and parenthood. Director of the Greater Good Science Center and author of Born to Be Good, Keltner's contrasting viewpoint is inspired by his research on happiness, compassion, and altruism. What a pair!

Tickets now on sale through Cal Performances
Click here to buy now!

$150: 6 pm gourmet reception and wine bar, premium seating & copy of signed book
$75: Premium seating & copy of signed book
$25: General admission

Michael LewisBest-selling author and journalist Michael Lewis calls it as he sees it. Lewis first made a name for himself in 1989 with the chart-topping Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage of Wall Street, which Tom Wolfe called "the funniest book on Wall Street I've ever read." In Moneyball, Michael Lewis writes about how the Oakland A's manager Billy Beane created one of the most cost-effective teams in baseball. Lewis' The Blind Side will come out as a movie starring Sandra Bullock at the end of October! Dacher KeltnerDacher Keltner is a professor of psychology and founding faculty director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. Keltner's book, Born to Be Good, demonstrates that life is not destined to be "nasty, brutish, and short," but rather that we humans are hardwired to be good. Keltner has written for The New York Times Magazine and has participated on two scientific panels with the Dalai Lama; his research has been covered in TIME, Newsweek, and on the BBC, CNN, and NPR.

© 2009 Christine Carter, Ph.D.

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No adoptive parents don’t feel love overcomes all.  We don’t believe our love is any different than any other parents love.  We just believe love has nothing to do with biology.  http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/half_full/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif

J.N. | 7:49 pm, October 29, 2009 | Link

 

Sibling Rivalry
I know Faber and Maslish wrote the book on it.  But is there anything NEW?  Anything scientific?  OR even validation for it?

Reading it I worry that some of their advice (Let the children work it out themselves) is more relevant when the children are within a few years of each other….not 5 years apart, as mine are….

I have an 8 year old who is unhappy due to parental conflict and overparenting (not fostering her independence) when she was young.  She has a huge and well developed sense of entitlement and lately an alienation from me (her mom) that is disturbing (She yells at me while averting her eyes to the ceiling when I simply talk to her!)

She is also hostile towards her little sister (whom she will freely tell you SHE never wanted)…though loving at times, she HATES being copied, emulated, imitated.  Since her sister is 2 1/2 of course sis is all about copying.

Now little sister (who ironically adores her big sis) is learning to be “loving” in the same ways big sis is….hitting, yelling, teasing, biting.  I’m just about to climb the walls at the mess I’ve created!
Yet when I search your blog there is ZIP on sibling rivalry.  I understand ( and am pleased to imagine) that your children have minimal amounts of this….but for those who have a huge dose, what can be done?  IT’s simply unacceptable for the kind of disrespectful hurtful behavior I see daily to be the norm for my girls.
p.s. Thank you for your blog!  Wish I had read it earlier!

J.F. | 4:07 pm, October 30, 2009 | Link

 

Hi all,

  Fabulous site. I had a question on a topic that is outside alot of parenting blogs. I am a stepdad. The bio father quit being part of my daughter’s life at about 1 year old or so because he was violent to the mom repeatedly and once to his daughter.
She is now 8. Her mom and I married a few months ago. She is asking about her “real father” and why he isn’t around. She is very attached to her mom and wants her mom to do more for her than is I think is typical for an 8 year old.
How do you possibly tell an 8 year old in an age appropriate way that she hasn’t see her father because it wasn’t safe? (She does see the paternal grandparents at least twice a year and an aunt on that side of the family at least once a year.)
Thank you.

C.J. | 4:10 pm, October 30, 2009 | Link

 

I am interested in finding out more information on how help my sons, especially my older one on dealing with a divorce. My son is only 4, but he is having a very hard time in trying to understand why his daddy left, he is asking a lot of why? questions that I am not able to answer. I still don’t understand everything myself, but it is hurting me even more to see my son struggling with so much confusion.
Any information that can passed on to me, will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.
——-

Y.L.B. | 4:15 pm, October 30, 2009 | Link

 
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