Sara Zaske may have German roots, but she’s a proud American. However, when her husband is offered a job in Germany and the family relocates to Berlin, Zaske realizes that not everything in the land of the free is the best.
Despite being in a country where her grasp of the language was questionable, and where natives have an unusual love of bureaucracy and files, Zaske discovered that there’s one thing the Germans truly excel at, and it’s not automotive engineering. It’s raising independent humans.
The mistakes of times past and mass human rights violations throughout the world wars were likely a trigger for the reformation of raising German children, but Zaske is adamant that the Germans are doing it properly. Reflecting on her preconditioned tendency to be a helicopter parent, Zaske examines what’s wrong with raising kids in the USA, and what the Germans do better.
While you may be inclined to think that one woman’s experiences and opinions hardly warrant a book praising an entire nation’s child-rearing skills, Zaske cites several studies and experts in explaining her admiration of the Germans and how they handle their offspring. Achtung Baby is an easy to read and easy to follow book that will have you reconsidering not only how families treat their young, but how whole societies do it.
If, like me, you don’t have children, don’t let that put you off reading this book. There are lessons and insights that go beyond child-rearing, and make sense of societal trends, communal tendencies, and family psychology. In short, it’s a brief study about habits of our time, and how we ingrain these in those that proceed us.
Achtung Baby by Sara Zaske is published by Piatkus, an imprint of Hachette Books, and is available in South Africa from Jonathan Ball Publishers.