Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch

Reading this book has been similar to simply talking to another mom about the struggles and joys of raising children in this generation.  There is no judgment or strict rules to follow - just a conversation about perspectives and strategies for teaching our kids, and ourselves, how to be grateful. 

I like that Kristen spends a lot of time helping parents develop a healthy mindset.  She points out that gratefulness is often learned by example.  She also reminds us that "often our kids don't need more stuff or more freedom; they just need more of us."  This journey begins with parents recognizing that we need to develop a healthy perspective - one that goes against the flow of today's culture.

There are many stories shared on these pages, both of parenting successes and of failures that can be learned from.   I felt encouraged and affirmed in some areas of parenting, and also got some new ideas I can implement in the future!  Hearing about the failures was helpful too because it reminds me that we're all in the struggle together.  I like that at the end of each chapter there is a Going Against the Flow section which highlights key points for parents and provides a few practical age appropriate suggestions for toddlers/preschoolers, elementary, and tween/teens. 

There are discussion questions included at the end of the book.  I think this would be a great book for a small group of mothers to read and discuss together.  This calling of motherhood is no easy task, but reading books like this one can help give a little encouragement and wisdom for the journey.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Rare Bird by Anna Whiston-Donaldson

   I sometimes wonder what it would be like to lose a child.  Would I be strong enough to handle that kind of pain?  How does God show up and comfort parents who are living though this nightmare?  I was interested in reading this story because I too have a 12-year-old son.  While I have not experienced a deep loss, I desire to know others stories to increase my awareness and compassion for those who are grieving.  It is difficult to write a review on a book like this because I can't critique a person's experience.  Instead, I can only comment on the way the story way written.

What will you find in this book? Honesty.  Authentic heart-wrenching thoughts and feelings this mother experienced during the first year after her son's death.  The mood continually switches back and forth between feelings of bitterness and hope, which I suppose is normal.  Anna shares openly how this loss has affected her relationships with her daughter, husband, friends, and neighbors.

The one thing that I found shocking was her use of foul language.  While I certainly don't judge her for thinking or using these words, I didn't find it tasteful to put them in print.  We're not talking about mild language either...these are the big dogs.  At least 15 cuss words spelled out and scattered throughout the book.  Maybe these words were included to support "authenticity", but I felt they were unnecessary and it resulted in me disconnecting from the story.

I would recommend this book with caution to those who want to understand the types of thoughts and feelings that a grieving mother may experience.  While there are strong threads of bitterness, Anna also offers glimpses of hope and comfort.  Anyone who reads this book will be moved with compassion toward those going through this type of loss, and will be reminded to treasure each and every day with their loved ones.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.