As part of Tyndale’s Blogger Review program, I received a free copy of Different in exchange for an honest review.
Parenting is hard. I don’t think anyone who has been a parent for any amount of time would disagree. There aren’t always easy answers for the problems we face. Again and again, we need to ask God how to best face the challenges before us. Never is this more true, though, than when one is raising a child who is different.
In Sally Clarkson’s new book Different, The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him, she and her son Nathan share their story of what it is like to grow up as a different child and what it’s like to be the mom who loves and parents him. From an early age, Nathan struggled with anxiety, ADHD, OCD, and ODD (although these disorders weren’t diagnosed until much later). Together, Sally and Nathan share parts of the Clarkson’s story that up until now Sally has graciously only hinted at in her other books on parenting.
The book doesn’t give any magic formulas, or diets, or supplements that will cure your child of whatever he is struggling with, but it does offer hope and the knowledge that you are not alone in your journey in parenting a different child. And since parenting, at best, can often be confusing, don’t be surprised if you end up questioning some of the choices that Sally’s family made for their son. However, though we, as parents, will not always agree on methods, I think you will find Sally’s book full of hope and encouragement to the mom who is struggling with an outside-the-box kid.
Sally, as she does in all her books, encourages us to believe in our children, to invest in them, and to trust that God has a beautiful plan for their lives. She urges us to seek God’s direction, above all other voices, in parenting our children.
Throughout the book, she emphasizes that,
[Nathan] was not a diagnosis. Not a problem to be solved or a disorder to be fixed. He was a child to be guided and trained and gloried in.
And that may be what I love most about Sally’s writing– she believes strongly in her children and she encourages me to do the same in mine. As a wise older woman, she is teaching me to love my children, to be compassionate to them in their failures, and to make investing in my family a priority. No, I don’t have a child that is different to the extent that Nathan is, but each of my children is unique with their own strengths and weaknesses. I know that each one of them has a calling on their life to be a hero in their own special way and by God’s grace, I want to cultivate that in them.
So if you’re needing some encouragement in your parenting or are just wanting to understand the struggles that your friends are facing with their child (I know I’ve been guilty of being the critical parent Sally mentions in her introduction!), you might want to get yourself a copy of Different. I believe you will be blessed as a mother or as a friend of a mother who is wrestling in this calling of raising up the next generation of heroes.
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