Release of ‘The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween’, by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Scheduled For July 1, 2014 – http://ow.ly/yycxc
Several years ago I received an e-mail from a young girl in Vietnam who had read The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything), in Vietnamese. She loved the book and decided to write to me. It is a long story, but Linh and I have been penpals for almost two years now. And not only have we written about our lives and our families, we have talked about many subjects, including how important charity is and how important it is to try your best to make the world a better place. Linh shared with my the problems on an orphanage in Vietnam that she is very concerned about. They don’t have enough money and certainly inadequate equipment to try to rehabilitate children with physical and mental disabilities. The women who work at the orphanage try their best, but still the children are not getting the chance they deserve.
I felt for these children and sent money to Linh, mom, Le Thi Hoai Thanh, who took the money for me to the orphanage. Of course Linh went with her. They have actually gone twice and I have been awarded two certificates! Here are a few of the pictures.
Linh and I are determined to raise money for these children and hopefully find some ways to get them the resources to develop their minds and bodies that they need. I never thought I would be working on a cause with a girl I have yet to meet in person, who lives 8000 miles away from me. But Linh has an unbelievable heart and the ability to convince a grown-up like me that we must try to save a small part of the world! These are babies and children and they need our help and resources. Here are some reactions to Linh’s second visit to Hoa Phuong Village:
“Well, Hoa Phuong Village is here again, I thought.
I was standing with my mother in the boundless garden of the village. Truthfully, I wanted to visit families there very much ; but first of all, we had to meet the village Vice-director. She was still friendly ; I felt so because she gave me a lot of guavas. They were very sweet and tasty….My mother took a number of photos. After that, a woman took us to a family in which babies and homeless children were brought up. The family had many lovely kids. They were so cute that I just wanted to kiss them, especially an innocent baby. Unfortunately, I don’t know his name. We talked to the two mothers in that family. They were both middle-aged women and they told us a lot about the children. Finally, we said goodbye to the mothers and the kids, and we left with packets of guavas.
I had nice memories after going to Hoa Phuong Village. Therefore, I think all of us-everyone all over the world-should help poor people and children with all our best. To be more exactly, please don’t make them feel lonely and disappointed….” Linh Hoai
I thought it would be such fun to put my cat on my lap and talk to him about the truth. After all, cats, like most or all animals, have an uncanny sense of the truth. They know if you don’t like them. They also often sense what is about to happen before it does, like when a storm is coming. And they look past all the superficial stuff like our make-up and what we are wearing to the true essence of what is at hand. Feed me. Love me. Play. It is all simple and direct.
Of course children are more complicated, but in many ways children know the truth better than we do. They can pick up on our moods and intentions instantly. Kids know if we are placating or overdoing compliments.
Soooo, once Sunny was on my lap, and he of course, sat right in the sun, I just began to talk to him about the truth. The words fell out of my mouth, as he patiently let me pet him. However, when I tried to get him to look at my book, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) he clearly turned away. He wasn’t going to let me trick him into reading a book for kids! After all, he’s a cat. He’s proud of it, and that’s The Truth.
I hope you enjoy our discussion. —- Sunny the Cat
Last year I wrote my secret entry about Paul on Valentine’s Day. Do you remember? I sent him a Valentine and I was so desperate to see if he sent me one. I had to open Valentines from everyone in the class until I found his. Do you remember what it said? It said, “Be my Valentine.” I was so happy. I could hardly sleep that night.
This year I will of course be sending Paul a Valentine. Even though I don’t feel quite the same about him. I’m not sure why, but I know one reason is that he looks away a lot when I look at him. I think he might think I’m staring at him.
Anyway, I decided to do something else this year. I read about the idea in one of my mother’s magazines. It was in an article called BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND. There was a long list of things you could do to be nice to yourself.
Some were stuff like skip the laundry this week , buy yourself a new nightgown and get a new hairstyle. Some of the list sounded stupid. Anyway it was for women, not girls. But the one thing I liked was Send a Valentine to Yourself. So I’m doing that this year. I have almost finished it. I made it out of construction paper and lace and it is very beautiful. And you know what I’m saying?
“I love you very much and I’ll never forget you!” I am very excited. I’m even going to glue little candy hearts on it.
Don’t tell anyone. They would think I was silly. Remember, it’s a secret.
The Truth for Girls has been featured in the Montauk Sun. Read the article here:
Experts confirm what the majority of people know: Truth comes in a number of forms and reveals itself in myriad ways, and that it’s often relative, depending on the needs and expectations of the seeker.
Now, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, based in Long Branch, N.J., and a nationally known positive psychologist — an officially recognized branch of psychology that centers on what’s right with people — examines what truth is as young girls see it, in her new book, titled The Truth: I’m a Girl, I’m Smart and I Know Everything, the first in what is expected to be a series.
The book, which contains a “bit of mystery” because girls love that, noted Holstein, is the fictitious account of a young girl who keeps a secret diary in which she writes about the thoughts, ideas, people and events that shape and forge the truth for her.
In the process, it establishes a forum for discussion with parents and peers.
Through the eyes and feelings of the girl, Holstein comments professionally about truth’s particular impact on females aged 8, 9 and 10 years old — and beyond. It also focuses on its meaning in connection with interaction with the adults in their lives — mothers, grandmothers, fathers, teachers and others.
In the introduction to the book, Holstein, reflecting on her own days as a young girl, wrote: “One day I decided to find a way to combine what I already knew as a girl with the knowledge I have as a classroom teacher, case-study researcher, school psychologist, and a psychologist in private practice, in Long Branch, for nearly 30 years. I had to find a fun way to do this that would really help girls and mothers recognize that what we know growing up is just as important as what we learn later.”
“One day the ‘girl’ just appeared. She knew what to say and how to say it. She did a much better job of sharing the truth than I ever could have imagined. So I just let her go for it. I used a child’s voice because children understand things in a special way. In the end, the young girl will become a young woman and will keep the best of herself.”
There are 12 to 15 serious topics embedded in the book that offer young girls and their parents the opportunity to discuss the subjects. Girls throughout the world, explained Holstein, experience similar aspects of growing up, with crushes, family and sibling friction, and being bullied at school just a few of the categories that bewilder children and cause them to feel alone.
And Then There’s the Internet
When the influence of the Internet is thrown into the mix, unavoidable and continual situations for concern arise, leaving parents unsure of how to handle these challenging aspects of a young girl’s life, said Holstein.
Here’s an excerpt from The Truth: “What is wrong with human beings? I had to read The Diary of Anne Frank in Sunday school and again I felt so horrible. She died only a few years older than I am. And she loved life so much. How can it be? … ”
At the back of the book, readers will find 25 discussion questions for youngsters.
Why did Holstein write The Truth? “I wrote it because after having worked on women’s issues for years, I came to the conclusion that women at every stage of life need to find ways to build self-esteem and self-worth.
“Every girl wants a mother who listens and is aware of her behavior, especially during the tween years. Family is fun, and tweens want to feel special in their families. The Truth gives girls 8 to 14 years old the knowledge that they are not alone, while it reminds mothers what it was like to be this age,” explained Holstein.
Among her hopes for the book — which ranks second in parenting tweens book topics on Amazon.com — she said, is to see it in school libraries, adding that “my other dream would be to see it turned into a musical.”
On July 5th, 2008 I’m the guest on The Puddle People Hour on BlogTalkRadio. The two hosts are Beth Marino and Pam Sargant. That show will be archived and available 24/7. We pre-recorded the show tonight and of course talked quite a bit about my first book, THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy and my newest book, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything). It was fascinating for me to go between the two books-THE ENCHANTED SELF being a rather dense book, full of case studies, positive psychology techniques, historical perspectives on women, my own journey as a woman in our society, etc. and The Truth which is a girl’s diary written in a simple, easy manner. However, what struck me as the most fun as we chatted was our discussion about “Mystery Rides”. The girl in The Truth goes on mystery rides with her family on Sunday afternoons and loves them. I was sharing her adventures when both Mary and Pam joined in saying that they also, had gone on mystery rides as children.
One family had eight kids and they would all pile into the station wagon and drive out into the countryside. So would the other, slightly smaller family. And Dad was the driver in both cases and he didn’t know where he was going. But it was so much fun, discovering small towns and local fairs and at the end stopping for icecream. The girl in The Truth also stopped for icecream at the end of the family’s mystery rides.
Now I’m wondering. Are mystery rides universal if you are over 45? Let me know. I went on them also, but sometimes I think they weren’t supposed to be a mystery. I think sometimes my father might have gotten lost! I don’t remember icecream at the end but I do remember often ending up at Savin Rock in New Haven, late in the afternoon on Sunday after riding around. What a treat! That was an amusement park along the beach. Usually I got to ride the ‘flying horses’ as we called them, my mom and Aunt Lil caught to sit on a bench and people watch and we all got to eat in the car at Jimmy’s hot dog stand, where we bought delicious grilled hotdogs (not boiled, like at home) and wonderful fenchfries that were crinkled and served in paper cones. Ah, such sweet memories of the old days!