Liguori Publications, Liguori, Mo.; 2006; $5.99.
It was more than 40 years ago, but the memory is as clear as if it were yesterday: My husband had just dashed home from his office after I phoned to tell him that labor was under way and I’d been directed to go to the hospital. He hurried through the door and breathlessly hugged me before grabbing my suitcase. At the moment of his embrace I was struck by the thought, “Soon we’ll no longer be a couple, but a family.”
This memory came back when I opened the Table of Contents of “Sharing the Faith With Your Child” and noticed the titles of the book’s first two sections: “Becoming Parents” and “Being a Family.” They are not exactly the same, are they?The authors offer good advice for both processes, as well as for the subjects of the other two sections, “Being a Catholic Family” and “Raising Children in Today’s World.”
While the book addresses Catholic parents in particular, its message has much to offer parents from other traditions as well — those who believe that God calls them to be parents and that raising children is important in their quest for holiness. This book speaks to married couples, solo parents, divorced or separated parents and stepparents.
These easy-reading 100 pages provide a blend of information and suggestions:
The information — about child development, marriage and family dynamics, spirituality and faith development — is solid and reliable.
The ideas and advice — on topics ranging from nurturing marriage and modeling faith to choosing day-care providers, celebrating rituals, establishing traditions and sharing responsibilities in an interfaith family — are practical and trustworthy.
The final section tackles challenges that may seem more difficult than ever for contemporary families, including moral development, discipline, sexuality, materialism and technology. This section also addresses perpetual challenges such as raising a child with special needs and dealing with death.
Quotations chosen by authors can say a lot about a book’s style, so here is a sampling from this book:
— “A baby is an inestimable blessing and bother” (Mark Twain).
— “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” (Kahlil Gibran).
— “You can’t prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building a nest in your hair” (Chinese proverb).
— “Jealousy, envy and rivalry will inevitably be there. To fail to anticipate them, or to be shocked at their appearance, is an ignorance that is far from bliss” (Dr. Haim Ginott).
Those are just a few of the sages cited along with words from Scripture and anecdotes from families. Quotes and anecdotes are sometimes humorous, sometimes philosophical, always a complement to the authors’ popular style and intelligent commentary.
All three writers bring personal and professional credentials to their subject: Phyllis Chandler is a mother and grandmother with extensive experience in early childhood and family life education. Joan Burney is a farm wife and mother with a Ph.D. in psychology. Mary Kay Leatherman is a mother and teacher who has worked with baptism and spiritual parenting programs.
Being women who are learned by virtue of both study and experience, they end their book with a list of recommendations for further reading.