Book Review: The Wisdom of Your Face, by Jean Haner

We’ve all heard of the Big Question of ‘nature’ versus ‘nurture’. Do we behave the way we do because of what we have been taught (or how we have been raised) or because we are simply innately ‘the way we are’? If you have encountered personality clashes in your homeschool, or family, and attempted to change something to fix the problem – but with mixed results – it may help to take a look at yourself and your offspring using the ancient system of Chinese face reading.

According to ‘The Wisdom of Your Face’ by Jean Haner, our unique personalities each contain more or less of five different ‘elements’. By taking a close look at your features and observing your facial traits you can find clues to your temperament and personality. It is more than an entertaining pastime – Ms. Harner puts a special emphasis on how understanding and reading a person’s facial clues can help parents and children get along with compassion and understanding. In a way, you can learn to identify what in your child is more likely to be a question of ‘nature’, and what might be more vulnerble to change as a result of ‘nurture’.

Thousands of years of observation are condensed into this system. It is not a New Age phenomenon with questionable origins! Some of the subtleties of the technique take a fair bit of practise to use. In our family we have heaved a sigh of relief about several of the results of our new awareness. The question of not being a morning person, for one, has always troubled me. My parents are both early risers, happy to get up and out the door as soon as possible. I on the other hand have never been one – not even as a young child. In fact, in elementary school it was so difficult for my mother to get me out of bed in the morning that she finally took me to the doctor, who did a variety of tests, asked me privately if I had any fears, etc. and finally concluded . . . that I would just have to find a profession that did not require me to get up early! Not a very scientific answer, and certainly not one that solved the ‘problem’ of getting my eight-year old self to school on time and ready to learn. But taken from the viewpoint of ancient Chinese philosophy, it was the ‘right’ answer. Why? Because the amount of ‘water’ in my make-up makes me naturally inclined to stay up late (I contentedly go to bed at 2am) and wake up slowly. Someone who has more ‘wood’ in their nature will tend to be up and in action earlier. Neither of us is right or wrong, neither of us is more hard-working or lazy. Unless you are suffering from depression, or going through a period of recovery from an illness, or sleep-deprived, the tendency to ‘sleep in’ might just be a part of your nature that does not need to be fixed. Therefore, adjusting your schedule and habits to your personality – instead of the other way around – might bring your more happiness and success on a daily basis.

Discoveries like these can really help to make a happier homeschool. Do you have a youngster who learns best while lying down? Are they extremely sensitive to small changes in their surroundings? Do they have trouble ‘getting to the point’? Do they relish snack time and collecting things? Some of us are not always comfortable with the simple observation that our child is different from us – we want to know why. This book can help settle some fears and questions, and give you a fresh perspective on why your approach to homeschool works – or doesn’t work – the way it does.

I have read countless blog posts and comments by parents who are worried about their children sleeping in, worried about doing schoolwork at ‘odd’ times of day, worried in general about not matching up to the same kind of schedule that most of us encountered in the school system when we were growing up. Let’s all remember that the modern school system was invented as a means to educate the peasant classes who were being trained (yes, trained, a bit like animals) to work in factories during the industrial revolution. They were disciplined harshly and taught to arrive on time, do what they were told, and work hard. The upper classes were not educated in this manner, but had private tutors or attended schools with a different structure of lessons and responsibilities. This just to say that the factory-work-based school system most of us have been using for the past 100 years is not a tried and true system that dates from ‘way back’; there are many other effective ways to educate and learn.

Homeschooling can be an opportunity for families to honour their own unique ways of doing things, and Chinese face reading can help parents to make constructive decisions in both their own and their children’s best interests – and it’s fun!

The Wisdom of Your Face, by Jean Haner

(This is not an endorsement – just an enthusiastic review!)


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