Meander Valley Gazette

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I’m just here to rattle your cages

Arts, FeatureJoanne EisemannComment
Marg-Cruikshank-and-Isabel-Shapcott-at-Seppenfelts.jpg

MAY 2018 | Cody Handley

LOCAL AUTHOR, Margaret Cruickshank, will be holding a book signing at Seppenfelts Emporium on Saturday 26th May from 11.00am to 1.00pm.

Marg is pleased to be launching her new book, Parenting the Next Generation: A Journey of Life, Love and Learning.

By and large, Marg’s book has its origins in her career as a teacher.

Marg taught at the Launceston Matriculation College from 1976 to 1981, before heading overseas for several years. She returned in 1985 and took up teaching Behavioural Studies at Don College on the north-west coast.

“I realised I had in front of me the future parents of the world,” she said. As the years progressed, Marg started noticing changes in their attitudes and behaviour, all the while raising her own children.

Some of these changes were concerning, Marg notes. “It wasn’t a major jump to conclude that we (the baby boomer generation) were responsible for these changes!”

“I was particularly interested in where our society was heading and the challenges the Family Institution was confronting,” Marg said. “Knowing that changes in our society obviously have an impact and cause changes in successive generations, fascinated me.”

Marg found her students more than willing to engage with this new direction in her teaching. “I, as a new parent, learned heaps from them,” she said.

When asked what the greatest lesson her students taught her was, Marg identifies the importance of being heard. “Parents often listen to their children, but they don’t hear. The hearing part can take a long time.”

Marg’s students suggested she write a book about some of the significant topics covered in class discussions. “Marg, you need to write this stuff down! Nobody tells us these things!” Marg says, mimicking one of her students.

“I said I would do it and then life got in the way, big time. The greatest thing about the book is that I got it finished!”

Cultural differences around raising children also influenced the book. Marg’s first experience of raising a child was in an English village where the attitude was that the whole village took responsibility for that child, often reprimanding other people’s children for misbehaving. Marg noticed that Australians tend to be much more individualistic in their approach to their kids.

Marg says Parenting the Next Generation is not a how-to book - “It’s a book to make you think.”

As she used to tell her students, “I’m just here to rattle your cages.”

For more information about Marg and her book, visit www.margcruickshank.com.

Photo | Mike Moores