In our house, there is one word that can be used at any time, as long as it’s not used by itself.

Whatever.

It’s an innocent enough word, but left to stand by itself, it can be relational harmful. Using this word often signals a premature disengaging that, if said often enough, can cause a wall between two people. In a house full of know-it-alls (how did this happen? Jesus help us), this word is the equivalent of a curse word.

I don’t even remember the context now, but for some reason I let the W-word slip. Ada, startled all of a sudden, looks right at me and says, “Mom, did you use that word in a sentence?” At first I felt indignant- how dare my 3-year-old challenge me in my usage of the English language? I’m the mom, don’t I have the right to say whatever I please? But, with the next wave of thoughts, I recognize my lack of respect with my words and quickly admit my error and began mending the situation.

I’ve been learning from my kids these days that just because I’m the parent and have the so-called “power” in the relationship, I still don’t get to break the rules. I don’t get to show disrespect or use relationally hurtful words that my children aren’t allowed to use with me or one another.

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In her new book, Small Talk: Learning From My Children About What Matters Most, Amy Julia Becker writes about some of the important things that she has learned from her children, whether it be in the van on the way home from school, observing her kids during an after school playdate, or on the back porch eating dinner. She writes in the introduction:

This book is a series of reflections from my past few years of parenting…it is not a how-to guide. It is not filled with advice. It is, I hope, a word of encouragement that good things can emerge out of the hard but ordinary everyday moments. It is, I hope, a reminder that on those days when you wonder if there is any meaning in the dishes and disputes and diapers, you are not alone.”

In this book, Amy Julia travels the path of friendships, traditions, beauty, disability, baptism and everywhere in between in a way that leaves the reader feeling encouraged, contemplative, and with an eagerness to listen a little more closely to what comes out of the mouths of our babes.

While Amy Julia is a great writer and thinker whose writing has been published in the New York Times Motherlode blog, the Atlantic, Christianity Today, etc., in this book she stumbles upon what all of us parents come to know eventually- some of our greatest learning, our deepest theological musings, our most potent catalysts for spiritual transformation begin with an interaction with our children.

To learn more about Small Talk or about Amy Julie Becker, you can read her blog, Thin Places or connect with her via FB or Twitter.

Thanks to BookLook books for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.  

 

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