Friday, March 24, 2017

An Amazing Book--A Must Read for Parents

A while back, I began to read a new book that's just been published.  It's titled different: The Story of an Outside-the-box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him by Nathan and Sally Clarkson.  When I had seen the description of this book, I had been very curious about it.  One of my very favorite parenting books is The Journey of the Strong Willed Child by Kendra Smiley.  One of the things I love most about that book is that it includes both her perspective, her husband's perspective, and her son's.  I learned so much from seeing their different sides.  This book by Nathan and Sally Clarkson is very helpful in that same way--it is written by both Sally Clarkson, the mom, and Nathan Clarkson, her son.

This book tackles many issues parents struggle with today: anxiety, depression, ADHD, and mental
illness.  Nathan lives with OCD, anxiety, and depression.  Sally homeschooled Nathan and his siblings throughout their growing up years, so she lived with these companions of Nathan's day in and day out.  Two of her other children also live with OCD as well.  She intimately knows what it means to struggle to love your child through the ups and downs of life.  Nathan knows what it is to live with these struggles.

This book is not meant to be a one-size fits all approach to parenting children with mental illness, rather it is meant to be an encouragement to parents who are walking through these things with their own children.  But, I would recommend this to all parents.  Why?  Why would I recommend it even if your children do not live with mental illness?

Because you will know someone who is--whether you have a friend who is living with mental illness or a friend who's child lives with mental illness.  It is important to have compassion and understanding for one another.  It is especially important to be aware of these things so that we can love people well in the church!  Medicine continues to face such stigma in the church when it comes to mental illness--so much so that it is often an impediment to people getting help when they really need it.

I want to include two quotes from the book that deeply encouraged me.  The first is from Nathan on page 186.

"The TRUTH is, we live in a deeply fractured world, and we don't always have a choice about being broken.  But we do have a choice about where we let our  brokenness lead us.

We can follow it into escape or addition.

But we can also follow it straight to God.  To the One who knows us inside and out--with all our mistakes, broken parts, insecurities, and battles--and who still loves us."

And from Sally Clarkson on page 193:

"I had to learn that God never intended me to judge my children's value by how well they fit the assembly line of cultural expectations or my own dreams of what I thought motherhood should be like."

Yes!!  I believe this to be true for every child.  I have watched my children and seen the times when other adults see them for who they are and also when adults and children have expected them to fit a mold.  There was a time when I was troubled that one of my children didn't fit the mold (and still doesn't).  But, I'm no longer troubled by it because I've seen that what wasn't seen to fit has actually now become a gift!

If you are looking for a book on mental illness, parenting, and children, I'd highly recommend reading this one.  But, honestly, I think it would be an interesting and good read for any parent!

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale publishing, but these opinions are my own!

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