Everyone. I have big, fun news.
I’m writing another book!!!!!!!
Yes, it’s a parenting book. Because right now, we parents need all the support we can get. Like my first book, and this newsletter, my new book will be a down-to-earth, science-based, non-fear-mongering resource for parents raising kids in this extremely complicated world. It’s called HELLO, CRUEL WORLD!: Science-based Strategies for Raising Terrific Kids in Terrifying Times.
It’s been in the works for a few months but I haven’t been able to talk about it until this morning. The wait has been ABSOLUTELY KILLING ME.
Let me tell you a bit more about HELLO CRUEL WORLD!
If you’re a parent, you may have, at least once, second-guessed your decision to bring a child into this world. Not because parenting is hard — although, of course, it absolutely is. And not because you don’t love your kids more than you ever imagined — but precisely because you do, and it feels deeply unfair to be forcing the terrible state of our world onto them. There are so many issues and threats our children will have to manage that weren’t nearly so bad for us: war, climate change, gun violence, political polarization, disinformation, radicalization, and abortion restrictions, to name but a few.
We’re essentially handing our children a stinking pile of poop.
Although I worry about my kids a lot, I certainly don’t regret having them. I like to think that the decision to bring more life into this world reflects the hope that I — and hopefully you — hold deep down, as well as our resolve to make things better. We won’t solve any problems by abandoning humanity and giving up on the future.
To this end, many of us are desperately trying to chip away at the world’s problems before our kids grow up. We vote, volunteer, donate money to important causes, attend marches and rallies, buy solar energy panels, and call our representatives. We do everything in our power to make things better, and we are making a difference. I firmly believe that.
Still, we’re not going to be able to solve all the intractable problems of the world before our children grow up. And we know that some things will keep getting worse. When author Ryan Holiday interviewed me for his podcast The Daily Stoic about my first book, he essentially said: “Not raising assholes is important, but how are our kids going to deal with a world full of assholes? How do we raise our children to deal with them and all the terrible things they do?”
HELLO, CRUEL WORLD! is my answer to that question. We can be activists in our parenting by preparing our children for the terrifying world they are going to inhabit. We can teach them the skills they will need to survive and make things better, to manage uncertainty and bridge divides, to take care of themselves and each other, and to fight for what they believe in. We can help them to think of themselves as part of a larger whole. We can show them how to set boundaries, take responsibility for their actions, and build healthy relationships.
But how exactly do we do this? Over the past several decades, researchers in many fields — psychology, sociology, education, information literacy, communications, and addiction, among others — have been studying how various skills and strengths develop in children and teens and what parents, teachers, and other adults can do to foster them. I’m going to dig deep into their research and distill their many hopeful insights into clear and simple strategies (with a little humor added in, because dear god don’t we need some of that right now). The book will be organized into chapters that are each focused on a single crucial skill or set of skills and will unpack what the science says about how we, as adults, can nurture them.
Because of the urgency of these issues, my publisher has set a very short deadline for my book. It’s due July 1st. Yes, I know, that is ….. oh dear Lord, less than eight months away. But it’s all in the service of getting the book into your hands sooner.
(To be fair, I was given the green light for the project in August, but we have been holding off on announcing it and finalizing the contract as we have gone back and forth — and back and forth and back and forth — on the title. A big shout-out towho came up with HELLO CRUEL WORLD! last month while we were going through yet another round of title brainstorms.)
In light of my very short deadline, I will also need YOUR help! Over the next eight months, I will be asking you for feedback on ideas or themes to ensure that I’m digging to the issues you care about the most. I may also request interviews with some of you who’ve had experiences related to ideas I’m exploring. And although I’ll be saving most of my reporting for the book itself, I’ll share various tidbits and insights from my research here as I go along. And of course, you’ll be the first to know about pre-orders and other book-related news.
I want all of you to join in this adventure with me and become a part of my book-writing process. I also hope that you’ll bear with me if there are times when my newsletters are a bit shorter or more haphazard than usual — it’ll all be in the service of something worthwhile, I promise. (And please, please — share this newsletter with friends who care about these questions and issues, too, so they can help, too!)
I’m really, really excited about this project and this next big step in my life. It’s become clear to me, thanks largely to you and what you have been sharing in our community, that the world desperately needs this book. We need a clear, thoughtful framework for how to prepare our children for this complex world — so that they can handle the chaos and, hopefully, transform it into something beautiful.
Please leave a comment with your thoughts and reactions!!! I’m dying to hear what you think.