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HomeHealth & BehaviorEmotional Well-Being

10 Mindful Minutes

Goldie Hawn's new parenting book tackles the task of teaching EQ to children.

By Carol Lloyd

When I was a graduate student at UCLA, my part-time job had me driving my dented VW Rabbit to mansions in Beverly Hills, Brentwood, and other lush Los Angeles neighborhoods a few times a week. The routine seldom varied: at the door, I was greeted by a clipboard-wielding personal assistant, who led me to a hushed, paneled library. There, amidst sun-dappled, 16th century furniture, snacks artfully arranged on fine china, the spawn of some celebrity awaited me – in utter despair.

My job was to perform academic triage – to bandage their intellectual holes and inoculate them with SAT prep tests. These kids had it all: exclusive private schools, enrichment activities ad nauseum, and an army of attendants catering to their whims. Yet my pupils appeared even worse off than average teens I'd known – I wasn’t sure why. Like the inner-city teen mothers I also tutored, they had gaps in the places where there should have been knowledge. The 16-year-old daughter of a famous jazz musician who attended one of the most prestigious private schools on the Westside in LA stopped dead when she saw the word “subtle” during the verbal portion of an SAT prep exercise. “I’ve never heard that word before,” she said.

How could a person spend 16 years in this English-speaking country and not have heard the word subtle? A 16-year-old son of an A-list movie star didn't know the definition of the word, "elite." I recall glancing around the room in search of tangible examples. Everything in the room was elite and so, in effect, nothing was. Without the discernment that comes with an education, even the ba-zillion dollar Cezanne over the mantle meant precious little.

Golden minutes lost

Over time, I realized these kids were not growing up in the world I understood, but their own special planet of privilege and neglect. Like the teen mothers I worked with, their own mothers and fathers were in scarce supply. During the weeks and months spent with these kids in their homes, I never once met or saw a parent.

So it was with some skepticism that I picked up actress Goldie Hawn’s new book 10 Mindful Minutes. What could a celebrity have to teach me about spending quality time with my child? Besides, Hawn isn't just the Golden girl of forever-young diatribes on Oprah, she's also my former employer. She's the mother of the teenager who didn’t know the meaning of the word "elite."

Why she never took a single mindful minute to meet her child’s high school tutor I’ll never know (lord knows what my child's babysitters have to recall about me), but 10 Mindful Minutes is far more than what I presumed: a celebrity navel-gazer telling the rest of us about how to be better parents. To be clear, it is that. There are plenty of self-congratulatory passages about Hawn's superlative mothering instincts. (The love and fun never stops in that house, but there’s scant mention of nannies.) But for all its flaws, Hawn, along with her smaller-font coauthor Wendy Holden, have created one of the most thoughtful parenting books in circulation. 10 Mindful Minutes seeks to address a significant need – children's mental and emotional health– with (dare I say it?) a brilliant idea: blending latest findings from psychology and neuroscience with eastern mindfulness practices to help kids help themselves.

is the executive editor of GreatSchools and mother to two raucous daughters, ages 9 and 13.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

02/6/2012:
"Wow, such negative comments! People, get a life! I thought it was a good review. Yes, it did encourage me to buy the book. And yes, it painted Goldie Hawn as a sometimes flawed person. Lightbulb! We are all flawed and none of us deals with stuff in the ideal way we think we would. "
01/30/2012:
"Excuse my language but I need to use a word that is not in my vocabulary to myself. what would Goldie hawn know about parenting, check her daughter and who knows the other children. these phonies drink, smoke are promiscuous and more.and she wrote the book which I doubt as it possibly is using her name to sell. To me some of the most deranged people are those in Hollywood. I will not go more into detail but people will buy good ,it will get excellent reviews and yet you also praised it knowing the situation. You may write here but it needs to be broadcast,please do not make the book a success from a woman who is stupid.. had children and other cared for them as she cavuted all over the world with a different partner "
01/30/2012:
"I think that it was unnecessary and Self serving to for the reviewer to To share a personal and biased Account of an association with Golden Hawn and her daughter . The review should be of the Book and nothing more. I find The book to be insightful and Helpful as a Mom & a Mimi. "
01/30/2012:
"It's always good when someone jumps in there with all hands and feet (and funding) and creates something to solve real problems. One thing I was aware of as one of those teachers who 'left after 5 years' was that the increased labeling and drugging of children was the SOURCE of the problems that Ms. Hawn's program seeks to solve. The other thing I learned after much research is that psychologists in the schools starting in 1963 were the turning point -- the down turning point of our crisis in the classroom. Now there are over 20 million kids on psych drugs like Ritalin, Cylert, etc. And the ADD and ADHD labelling is rampant. The brain and the mind are two totally different things. The book that is the GOLD STANDARD for a description of the mind and its 2 parts is DIANETICS. Once I read this I had so many answers to problems I was having as a teacher, a mother, a citizen, a wife and how to solve these problems that it opened up a whole new world for me. Recently I spoke with a Baptist Pastor whose high school teacher (in Detroit back in the 70s) gave each student the DIANETICS book and told them to read it and write a report on it. Long story short, this Pastor and 15 other male athletes from his school were given scholarships to a west coast college to play basketball. After 2 months, there were only 3 who stayed and the others went back to Detroit. This Pastor said that not having ever been outside of Detroit and the Black community, He was able to put to practice what he learned and feel comfortable in new surroundings. And this happened when he joined the Navy as well. He lives in Bel! aire, CA now, an upscale area of Los Angeles. If the parents and teachers start saying NO to the prescription drugging of children to 'handle their behavior' then a program like this might have a chance of working. And being able to differentiate between the brain and the mind would make it even more successful. "
01/30/2012:
"Great article...excellent book for classroom and home. "
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