Friday, June 20, 2014

Book Review: Grace for the Contemplative Parent

One of the most fascinating and influential books I have discovered in the last five years is The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. If you're not familiar with this title, do yourself a favor and purchase a copy. It's a little over 100 pages long, but it is packed with depth, beauty, and mystery surrounding how we can and might should choose to interact with and worship God. It was also written hundreds of years ago, so it's not exactly influenced by modern ways in which the church or pop culture has formed our opinions on faith.

And then there's Grace for the Contemplative Parent. It's also a little over 100 pages long, but published in 2013. And quite, quite different in tone from the tome by Bro. Lawrence.

Grace is written as "A Practical Guide for Mothers Practicing the Presence of God." While I knew it was written by a mom, I was unaware of how mom-centric the opening chapters of the book would be. There are plenty of stories and examples throughout the book which, through inference, can be transferred to a parent of either sex; however, the overall voice found in the book is one directed towards not just moms, but moms of multiple kids. And while the author has the authority to speak from this voice (as it's her own life she is drawing parallels from), I would have appreciated it had the book been more in line with grace for the parent and not just for the mom.

This is not to say that the book is bereft of valuable information. Each chapter is framed with a practice either found in or drawn directly from the work of Bro. Lawrence. And the later chapters especially ring true for parents of either sex, in that we need to remember how to find solitude, rest, and not lose ourselves in the lives of our children. As a stay-at-home dad, perhaps some of these lessons strike a bit close to home, as they are dangers areas I find myself slipping into time and again.

Overall, the book is a great read for moms, but I can not state that I'd suggest as a book for dads. Either way, it would make for a great comparison study to read this book side by side with Bro. Lawrence's works to find perhaps more opportunities to parent - and live - with grace.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Parti 255.g

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