I know I haven't recently discussed any books I've read, but that's NOT because I haven't been reading. On the contrary, I have been reading too many books at one time and haven't taken the time to post about them.
Last week I finished "The Blessing" by Gary Smalley and John Trent. I started reading it about 9 years ago when I was a freshman in college (oh my, has it been that long?!?!?!), but I never finished it due to a busy class schedule. I decided a couple weeks ago to pick it up and start over.
The basic premise of the book is that everybody has a deep longing and need to feel accepted and loved by others. This need ought to be fulfilled in many areas, but primarily we need to feel accepted by our parents. The authors parallel their ideas with what the Bible has to say about the blessing that was given in the patriarch's homes. They often refer to the blessings that were given (spoken) by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to their children in the Old Testament.
The five elements of the blessing are:
2. Spoken Words
3. Expressing High Value
4. Picturing a Special Future
5. An Active Commitment
Although I think these five elements are great tools and ought to be implemented into every home, I am not so convinced that this is exactly what the Bible refers to as the "blessing" in scripture. It seems like a bit of a stretch. Nonetheless, the ideas in the book are good and I am glad I read it. It really helped me to evaluate my own upbringing and think through and discuss with Ben how we want to include these ideas in rearing our own children. If you were not born into a Christian home, or you come from a somewhat dysfunctional family, I would encourage you to read this book. Oftentimes we parent how we were parented, whether we agree with the method or not. This is one of those books that will help you if you desire to break a cycle in your family or simply want to do things differently. Even if you did grow up in a great home, I think this book will help you as you minister to others and raise your children.