Zen Parenting
The Art of Learning What You Already Know
Judith Costello & Jurgen Haver
Robins Lane Press, Beltsville, Maryland (USA), 2005
143 pages, including biblipgraphy.

If the American publishing industry excels at something is preciely at selling books that piggyback on a trendy topic. I am afraid that is precisely what this Zen Parenting book is all about. Once the love for everything Oriental was introduced in the West back in the tumultuous 1960s, it was only a matter of time before it reached the mainstream and people could make lots of money from it. If this was already possible by the mid-1970s, one can only imagine what was possible by the time the baby boomers reached a mature age around the 1980s and 1990s. Simply put, anything with an Oriental touch (including, of course, Yoga and Buddhism) became par for the course, a trendy subject that people could make lots of money on. Hence the popularity of Deepak Chopra and other propagandists and savvy marketers. That is not to say, of course, that there is nothing underneath the thin layer of intensive courses, retreats, practices and paraphernalia. All these believes have a long and respected tradition. The thing is that, as usual, our civilization has the magic touch to convert it all into mere object of consumption, trendy activity to show that one is "in".

Now, what does any of this have to do with Zen Parenting? Well, truly, the book is not a total waste. However, one wonders whether there is a need to include the word "zen" in the title at all, or rather it is just a ruse to ride a wave of popularity and sound "deep". After all, most (if not all) the advice included in these pages has little or nothing to do with Zen. For the most part, it is just sound parenting and, as it tends to be the case, there are issues that could be subject to debate.

In any case, Zen Parenting is easy to read. The fact that it uses daily life stories to introduce us to the different topics (divorce, work, discipline, balance...) certainly makes it easier to read. However, there is hardly anything innovative, ground-breaking or even "zen" here. There is no need to waste one's own time here. Moving on.

Entertainment Factor 5/10
Intellectual Factor: 3/10