Letters: Kennedy, 'NurtureShock'

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Listeners complain about an omission from the coverage of the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, and respond to the interview with Po Bronson, about his book on raising kids, NurtureShock. Robert Siegel reads from listeners' e-mails.


Now, your emails. Ever since Senator Ted Kennedy died, we've received lots of mail, much of it praise, some criticism, for Kennedy's accomplishments in Congress. We also heard this from a number of you about our coverage.

Joe Bingham(ph) of Chicago writes: It pains me to draw attention to it, but a failure to mention and to explore at length Senator Kennedy's actions on the night of July 18, 1969 is an abrogation of your duty as journalists to present a balanced portrait of his life.

Mr. Bingham is referring to the night Mary Jo Kopechne drowned. She was riding in a car with Senator Kennedy when he drove off a small bridge on Chappaquiddick Island. Kennedy took hours to report the accident to police. He was found guilty of leaving the scene, and the controversy cast a long shadow over his career.

Now to my interview with writer Po Bronson about his new book on child rearing called "NurtureShock." Barbara Tull(ph) of Weatherford, Oklahoma, had this to say: The way the story started out was quite misleading, saying that parents should not praise their kids. It's the empty praise that should be avoided. But meaningful, genuine praise for actual accomplishments is very healthy and is needed. I'm happy that the story finally got around to that.

Po Bronson also talked about lying and his belief that in young kids, it's a sign of nascent intelligence. Well, David Gino(ph) of Cumberland, Ohio, agrees but adds his own twist. He writes: One of the most important social skills our parents ever teach us is to lie. We need to lie throughout our adult lives, and we need to do it well, just to get along socially and in the workplace. The supreme irony is that the way our parents teach us to lie is to demand the truth, and they teach us to lie well by punishing us for the lies they catch.

Well, please don't lie to us. Send us your honest critiques by going to npr.org and clicking on contact us.

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