I enjoy reading parenting books and over the past ten years I've found a few that I love (Shepherding a Child's Heart, Journey of a Strong Willed Child, Growing Grateful Kids). But, in all that time, my husband hasn't read any. Typically, they aren't written in a style that he enjoys. I should note that he has also only found two books on marriage that he has enjoyed reading (Mike Mason's book on Marriage and John Piper's book, This Momentary Marriage). Christian Parenting and Marriage books are often written very similarly. They often have a lot of formulas in them... "If you do this, then..." And they can feel very fluffy and feel good, while not getting at the heart of the manner. They can also come off as a huge dose of "self improvement, feel good" teaching. I've read many that fit these statements.
But this weekend, I actually found a Christian "parenting" book of sorts that my husband is interested in reading. And surprisingly, so am I. We rarely read the same books. He is drawn to literary, vocabulary rich writing. I am drawn to simple, succinct thoughts. I appreciate good writing, but can get bogged down in too much vocabulary from days of old. My husband, on the other hand, thrives on it. My husband loves poetry. Typically, I do not. So, it truly is surprising for me to find a book for parents that we are both drawn to.
The book is Little Lamb, Who Loves Thee? by Walter Wangerin Jr. It was
published first in the '90s and then revised and expanded about ten years ago in 2004. I came across this book quite by accident. It wasn't given to me. No one had ever told me about it. I don't know anyone who's even read it. I found it when I was sifting through the boxes of clearance books at a local discount store. I didn't have any particular reason for picking it up. I recognized the author as one my husband has enjoyed before. It also happened to only be a dollar. So, I decided to take a chance.
When I got home, I read the introduction and was convicted. This man expressed what I desire for my children and have realized is vitally important for their lives. They need to laugh. Laugh so hard that they cry. Laugh with us and build bonds that will hold them steady through their lifetimes. Enjoy the childhood that God has given them. This introduction is nothing like cotton candy. Rather, it is a small portion of creme brulee--to be savored and remembered.
You can read the introduction of the book on Amazon. But, you have to search by the ISBN 0310248264
You can find the book HERE. For some reason, if you search by the title, only the old version comes up, which doesn't have the introduction that I love so much.
Last night, my husband said to me that he thinks this may be only the second "parenting" book he ever reads. Which is funny, because he didn't "read" the first. I read sections of Shepherding a Child's Heart to him in the car a long time ago. He shared with me that Wangerin's words don't feel fluffy to him. When Wangerin is talking about the self-confidence kids need, he isn't talking about self esteem. He's talking about a security in who they are--understanding that they are loved and who they are because God made them. ... "Little Lamb, Who Loves Thee?"
My husband once said to me that people can learn as much from stories as they can from non-fiction. I think that's the case with this book. If you get a chance to read the introduction, I hope you'll enjoy it as I have!