Some time ago, I read and thoroughly enjoyed (and reviewed!) Tom Hodgkinson’s The Freedom Manifesto. I loved the way that Hodgkinson wove philosophy and humour, and created what is actually a very inspirational read, while informing me that I need to quit my job, plant a garden and take up the ukulele.
So, when I saw Hodgkinsons’ latest, The Idle Parent, on our shelf of new books, I couldn’t wait to tear into it. And what a treat it was!
Hodgkinson implores us to quit bothering our children and to leave them well alone, if we want to ensure they are self-reliant, creative, well-adjusted individuals. Throughout, he offers insights into why children whine (spoiler alert: it’s because they’re powerless), how they can contribute to the household, why they should be taken out of school and away from glowing screens, and how parents can do a lot for their children by doing nothing.
This book is not an endorsement of neglect; the idle parent is not a reckless, irresponsible one. Rather, the idle parent is one who does not seek to control or mould children. The idle parent realizes that children are people, and need to pursue what it is that people were created for: to enjoy a pleasurable life.