Today we are bombarded in the news by research findings that tell us how to help our children reach their potential. We can apparently grow our children’s IQ a number of notches by playing Mozart to them in and out of the womb, breastfeeding them and reading to them as babies. We can begin them on Gymberoo and Little Maestros at a very young age and start them using a mouse on the computer before four. Now this is not undesirable, indeed it is to be admired. But does this make them happy?
The simple answer is we don’t know. But beware of geniuses. They are often spoon fed on their own importance and become prima donnas before you can get them into a school uniform. What on earth would Jane have to say about such modern little tykes? Continue reading
A seafarer’s cottage near the windswept dunes in Pt Fairy, Victoria, Australia
Invariably when someone waxes lyrical about how unimportant they think money is, how he’d/she’d be happy to live anywhere and that money doesn’t matter, you can be pretty sure they may profess too much or have never faced a shortage of it. Anyone who has struggled with insufficient money to pay their bills or rent knows that money does matter. Accumulating wealth may not, but paying for necessities does. In the Austen world of the Austen Six it certainly seems to hold true.
In the Austen Six there are a variety of characters who are mercenary to the extreme but profess the opposite. My favourite, New-Best-Friend-Isabella Thorpe, from Northanger Abbey Continue reading
If one could wave an Austenian wand and have a skill for life granted, it would be resilience. As Jane Austen described it in Persuasion, “It was the choicest gift from heaven”. Perhaps more than anything else, resilience is the ability that predicts a happy life. To be able to get back up after a fall, to be able to overcome a failure, to be able to move on after a disappointment – resilience is the value to covet.
Most of Austen’s heroines and heroes are just ordinary everyday people: they don’t think themselves Continue reading
This is a long shot but being good to your family and being seen to be good to your family is attractive; those that care for others and treat their own with respect win the prize in the love stakes in the Austen world. (Maybe this sentiment lies behind the fact that men with babies appear attractive.) Beware of anyone who denigrates their own family. It is a warning bell loud and clear. This is not to say that one should be loyal to your family under any circumstances. One wouldn’t want to be like the Mafia! But it is a basic test when looking for friends or partners that Continue reading