This is our book of the year.
Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans
By Michaeleen Doucleff, PhD
This book is a curation of traditional parenting wisdom from three longstanding cultures - the Maya in the Yukatan, the Inuit in Northern Canada, and the Hadzabe in Tanzania - who manage to raise unusually (for the industrialized world) confident, cooperative, and healthy children.
Spoiler alert: It turns out that most conventional parenting advice isn't based on science or traditional wisdom. Uh oh.
Following conventional advice, we modern parents often over praise, over command, over schedule, over plan, and over supply our kids. And we engage in WAY too many child-centric activities. AND we do it mostly alone!
And... it might not be the way to raise good humans. Hence, the modern human condition.
This book has taught us some game-changing lessons: Like, how to teach a child to be helpful around the house without being asked. Or how to teach a child to respond with calm and kindness when they aren't getting what they want from you (Hint: Children's emotions mirror our own. Ask yourself, when you don't get what you want from them, what emotions do you model?).
To optimize any human behavior (which is always what we are trying to do at Turtle Tree), you really have to look way WAY back at what has been done by groups (plural) of people for thousands of years with positive results.
That's what this book does with respect to parenting. It's about tried-and-true methods of raising happy, helpful children and maintaining a life-promoting peace in the home. We've made a formal study of it in ours.
If you're a parent, grandparent, godparent, or other member of a parenting team, we hope you will join us as we put this traditional wisdom into practice and start to pass it down to our kids. That's what we always intend these posts to be about - building a coalition around best human practices.
And if parenting isn't on your radar, no worries. You haven't read this far in vein! Like us, you might actually find this book to be a discourse on human cooperation as well as a satisfying explanation for the maladaptive behavior of many of your fellow humans.
As it turns out, adults are just grown up kids.
Hillary and Jonathan