Book Review: Tending the Spark April 04 2019

Tending the Spark: Lighting the Future for Middle School Students is Betty Staley’s latest contribution to better understanding child development to better educate the child. This is a book every parent and teacher of eleven to fifteen-year-olds must read! Tending the Spark covers a multiplicity of topics related to raising and teaching middle-schoolers. Everything from physical development, brain development, peer pressure, social media, and creativity are covered in this thorough sweep through middle school changes and realities.

Betty identifies what she calls “the vulnerability gap” for youngsters — the age when innocence prevails and puberty precedes prefrontal lobe growth by perhaps four years. This leaves a child physically mature years before emotional maturity is gained. This gap of vulnerability leaves the child prey to many influences from advertising, movies, and peer influences before being able to discriminate truth, beauty, and goodness. At this time of vulnerability, young people need more protection than ever before. They need time for developing before they are assailed with misleading ads, predatory strangers, and social debacles that so often happen online.

Betty Staley offers many suggestions of ways to help a youngster to remain grounded and connected to family and real friends, to help a youngster understand the value of work, and ways to encourage the spark of idealism smoldering in the hearts of every pre-teen and teen.

If you teach middle schoolers, if you are a parent to a young person, or if you are about to parent or teach an adolescent, this book is the one for you! Get it. Read it. Follow the suggestions and know what’s going on in the hearts and minds of our young!