by Gary L. Thomas
240 pp., $19.99
"If it was going to be easy to raise kids, it never would have started with something called labor" is the anonymous quote that kicks off this book by Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways, Sacred Marriage, Authentic Faith).
Thomas looks at kids as "holy teachers" but knows they can be holy terrors as well. "Parenting," he writes, "will disappoint us, wound us, and frustrate us."
He believes parenting is spiritually formative: it teaches us to sacrifice, to cope with guilt, to laugh, to grieve; it forces us to our knees in prayer. "We cannot be the same people we once were," Thomas writes. "We will be forever changed, eternally altered."
He mixes personal stories, Scripture, and excerpts of other parenting works, particularly Rachel Cusk's A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother, to make his points. But this is no "five steps to better parenting" program, and he eschews guilt trips. Rather, Thomas invites parents to "purify ourselves, to use the process of raising kids to perfect holiness, and to do this consistently, every day, out of reverence for God."
Thomas's fresh insights and conversational style make this ideal reading for parents interested in reflection, rather than a how-to book.
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