Good Influence

Teaching the Wisdom of Adulthood

Daniel R. Heischman

Sep/2009, 146 Pages, Paperback, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9780819223630



Young people desperately seek to develop an inner core that will not only rescue them in times of distress, but also help them to define and shape moral convictions, passions, and interests in building a better world. To find this inner coherence, they turn to their parents and teachers — the adults who are supposed to know them better than they know themselves. But these same adults are often driven and desperate to stay young, and are unclear how to achieve the wisdom and maturity of an elder to put the needs of their children and students above their own.

Young people do not want us to become part of “their” world, according to author Dan Heischman, but they invite us — and need us — to be different… to be adults, for them.

This book will help adults understand what young people are searching for, describe how to have a lasting impact on your children’s or student’s development, teach credible models of adulthood, and guide adults towards achieving the passion and wisdom for spiritual mentorship.

Drawing on thirty years of experience with parents, teachers, and students, the author uses stories and sound principles not so much to help bridge the generation gap, but to use the natural difference in maturity as a basis and guideline for more effective communication and connection.

Daniel R. Heischman, executive director of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, lives and works in New York City. Earlier positions include executive director of the Council for Religion in Independent Schools (CRIS), assistant headmaster and headmaster of the Upper School at St. Albans School in Washington, DC, and college chaplain at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

“Dan Heischman offers a thoughtful, often courageous, always heartening book about the art of helping young people become healthy adults. I hope parents, teachers, and students will read this important book together, sharing ideas about the practice of good influence and imagining ways of furthering each other on this journey.” —Paula Lawrence Wehmiller, educator, author, and Episcopal priest

“In a society that values perpetual youth, immediate gratification, and being cool instead of being adult, young people long for mature, genuine, and compassionate adults in their lives. This well-grounded, richly storied, practical and inspiring book is a gift to every parent, teacher, principal, professor, and chaplain who is willing to ‘be there’ for the next generation.”—Sharon Daloz Parks, author of Big Questions, Worthy Dreams and Leadership Can Be Taught

Good Influence is a powerful exploration of the prerogatives and responsibilities of adulthood. Heischman’s poignant and personal work underscores the enormous rewards of risking young people's disapproval for the sake of their growth. I can’t imagine a parent or teacher who won't be instructed, moved, and uplifted.” —James Alan Astman, Headmaster, Oakwood School

“This is compelling reading on so many levels: professional, personal, and spiritual. It is time for parents, educators, and all who have a role in modeling for youth the path to maturity to start acting like adults. This book is the Julia Child recipe for responsible cooking when it comes to the nourishment of our children.”—Patrick F. Bassett, President, National Association of Independent Schools

“In Good Influence Dan Heischman has given us a book of wisdom. Like Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, the wisdom literature of the Bible, it shares with new generations the ways of wisdom born of lived faith and time-tested experience, and will profoundly influence for the good all who read it.”— Michael B. Curry, Episcopal Bishop of North Carolina

"Worth the read for anyone who is trying to be an effective mentor."—The Midwest Book Review

"Heischman richly amplifies his points in illustrative accounts of his own experiences with students and their parents that are instructional and humanizing."—Anglican Theological Review

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