Tough Love Revisited

Tough Love Revisited


James L. Casale, Ph.D.

I’m a big fan of Peggy Noonan. She is a syndicated columnist for the Wall Street Journal. I don’t always agree with her, but I respect her opinions, and I pay attention to her views. She is a lifelong learner as this essay will prove.

The mention of “tough love” conjures up the notion of how we, as parents, are expected to raise our children successfully by not giving in to their every wish and desire and allowing them to figure out stuff for themselves. It also means that when our kids screw up, we should allow them to suffer the consequences of their actions.

Her latest column, which I read in the New York Post (1/27/18), was titled “Tough Love” and focused on the views of Jordan Peterson, former associate professor of psychology at Harvard and a full professor at the University of Toronto, who dares to challenge the left-wing orthodoxy that society is to blame for our personal woes and prefers to champion self-improvement. He proposes that “we should be more critical of ourselves rather than society.”

Since I recently completed my second eBook, Family Manifesto: Words to Live By, which is filled with “growing up” quotes and other words of wisdom, I was inspired and excited to read  Noonan’s editorial on professor Peterson’s views regarding self-improvement.

Peterson’s tough-love school: “Know life’s limits, see and analyze your own, build on what you’ve got and can create.” He states emphatically, “Be brave. Everything else is boring and won’t work.”

He respects the great thinkers of the West and the Christian tradition. In his book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, readers can expect to find the following gems:

Pay attention to the Old Testament. These stories have lasted for a reason.
Grasping at a political ideology is not the answer when your life goes wrong.
Don’t blame capitalism, the radical left, or the iniquity of your enemies.
Don’t reorganize the state until you have ordered your own experience. (AKA—If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.)
Have humility.
If you can’t bring peace to your household, how dare you try to rule a city?
Don’t be arrogant. “Become aware of your own insufficiency.”
Support yourself with people who support your upward aim.


There is more, much more, but as the lifelong learner Peggy Noonan did, I think I’ll buy the book too. This sounds like a book I want in my library. We are all capable of so much more if we will open our minds to the possibilities of self-improvement. Books, magazines, newspapers, courses, and more offer us endless opportunities to raise our children to be lifelong learners, good citizens, and men and women of character. While we are doing that, we will improve too.

Dr. Casale is a state and national award-winning educator and the author of the highly praised book published by Skyhorse Publishing, Wise Up and Be the Solution: How to Create a Culture of Learning at Home and Guide Your Child to Succeed in School and Life. It is available at bookstores and online.

His second parenting book, Family Pledge; Raising Lifelong Learners and Good Citizens, has received five-star reviews on Amazon and is also available at bookstores and digitally.

He is available as a speaker.


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