3 out of 4 stars
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Respect: What Does It Mean to You? is a book that attempts to cross a generational divide when it comes to definitions of respect. Dr. Monica Young Andrews shares stories from her childhood to illustrate the struggles that she had with her mother over this issue. She also includes stories from her friends and family members about respect and different perspectives on the relationship between kids and parents.
This book is divided up into chapters but the organization and consistency of the content are a bit confusing. However, there are a few clear messages that I took away from this book. The author feels that the basis of appropriately showing respect to others is having respect for yourself. This book seems to equate not having enough confidence with disrespecting yourself which didn't quite ring true to me. The author states that respecting yourself is about listening to your own voice and making sure that your needs are met. There are a few examples given where someone fails to speak up when they could have and that leads them to feel disrespected by others.
I did relate to one of the messages in this book. The author talks about teenagers quite a bit and even addresses them directly. She states that while we all make bad decisions, you should strive to make each decision in your life deliberately. Be aware of the short-term and long-term consequences and proceed from there. I thought this was a fresh take on the mindset that teenagers make bad decisions just because they are young and aren't looking ahead to the future.
My favorite parts of this book are the stories that the author relays from her friends and family. I think they add some universal relevance to the book and help to illustrate some points made by the author. Dr. Andrews had a very strong voice throughout this book, and it was easy to relate to the advice and the stories that were included.
My least favorite part of this book is the flow and structure. I love a self-help book, but I had a hard time figuring out what the goal of this book is. The author has a lot of ideas and points to make but some of them are very briefly addressed and get lost in the flow of the book while others are repeated across multiple chapters. I think this book could use a stronger system of chapter organization and a review of the reflection questions and activities. There are some interesting questions included, but not much guidance on what to do with your insight after the end of that chapter.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in family relationships as they relate to respect. It is easy to read and appropriate for older children to teens. There is no profanity or sexual content. This book might be a great conversation starter for a teenager and their parents if they are struggling to communicate with each other.
I am giving this book 3 out of 4 stars. I wouldn't give it 2 stars because it is written very well and the author clearly has a message to get across. It was an enjoyable read overall, and I didn’t find a single typo when reading. I wouldn't rate it 4 stars because I believe it could use some content editing and revising. I would like to see this book have a stronger structure and some more follow-up on the included activities.
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