Finding Peace When a Child Chooses Another Path by Robin Zenger Baker (Blog Tour Review)

Finding Peace blog tour

Welcome to my tour stop for Finding Peace When a Child Chooses Another Path by Robin Zenger Baker! This was a heartfelt book. Check out the book and author info, as well as my review below...

Finding Peace When a Child Chooses Another PathFinding Peace When a Child Chooses Another Path
by Robin Zenger Baker
Nonfiction, LDS
Paperback & ebook, 94 Pages
September 8th 2015 by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Summary

Keep your family strong in spite of everything. This loving look at how to react when your children exercise their agency in the wrong way is perfect for parents and grandparents alike. Learn how to set boundaries, when to intervene, and what you can do to show love and make peace with their choices. Uplifting and encouraging, this book will bring you the seemingly elusive peace and hope during your times of trial.

  
(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

Finding Peace When a Child Chooses Another Path was a book about helping parents who have had someone close to them, specifically a child or children, fall away from the church. Chapters included: "How Does It Feel When Children Leave?," "Is This a Trend?," "Seeds by the Wayside," "Where Is the Pain Coming From?," "Parents' Reactions," "What Works: Accepting the New Reality," "What Works: Take Action," "What Works: Hold onto Hope," and concludes with "Balancing Pain and Joy." The book is specific to the LDS religion or those belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but also discusses the situation with other religions in mind. This is a situation that is found across all religious groups, as the author points out here:
     But by the time young people hit the emerging adult ages from eighteen to twenty-five, the number of those still engaged in the gospel shows a big drop down to just over one-third still active (36 percent).
       Activity trends in other Christian churches follow a similar downward trajectory. In the book You Lost Me, author David Kinnaman reported that many youth (43 percent) drop out of church between teen and early adult years, thus becoming "the black hole of church attendance." For all Christians, well over half drop out at some point after going regularly in their youth, and about a third of all Christians go through a period of either significantly doubting their faith or wanting to reject their parents' faith.
(p. 22)
Obviously this is a situation that doesn't just affect LDS families, but religiously devout people everywhere. Almost every family would have some experience either among their own children or a friend's child or extended family member turning away from their religion at some point. The book could relatively help any in this situation. I liked that the author brought up other statistics and also sited lds.org as a resource to search for answers and responses to concerns. 

I have to admit that I was a little worried when I began reading this that I wouldn't like it or that it would be overly negative. I ended up being pleasantly surprised. Not only did the voice of the book read more realistically and positively than I expected, it also touched my heart as I have thought about someone close to me who is struggling. I liked that she points out all the various circumstances and influences that those who are struggling face in the world. She explained that at some point children do need to find their own faith and figure out what they believe:
     As painful as it may be for us parents, if we had to pick a time when people should scrutinize their faith, it would be during young adulthood. This is a time when we honestly want out children to develop their own abiding faith, and that can only be done by placing that faith under the microscope.
(p. 31)
There were a lot of examples, thoughts, testimonials of other families and parents that showed various situations with their children and their responses. Some of them were quite shocking and not of how I would think Christians should act, but also realistic for many. There are suggestions on what not to do and what to do, as in the chapter on Seeds by the Wayside:
     Interestingly, there is some evidence to suggest that parents who provide children the freedom to question have better luck passing their faith along to their children. When parents overreact or dismiss questions, this strategy can backfire.
(p. 32)
I liked that the author also balanced all the negative statistics and feelings with glimmers of hope, such as this recounting from a mother's email:
     My uncle also reminded me that our children are sealed to us for the eternities. If my husband and I keep our covenants, those promises will be honored. Gabe is sealed to us here and will be in the eternities, one way or another. . . . On occasion, I have reminded him of this. I've seen a glimmer of a smile on his face when I've said that we are a family forever, and that he is coming with us. We love him and we are not leaving him behind. . . .
     We did the best we could, given what we knew. And we fell far short, despite doing our best. I realized . . . that I could turn to my Savior and say to Him, "I did the best I knew how, and it wasn't enough. Can you help me make up the difference? Can you atone for where we fell short?" The answer is, of course, a resounding yes!
(p. 46-47)
She talks about the love and acceptance that parents can have, as well as a hope for a future where their family, each of their loved ones, are all together again. Then she talks about what works and what parents can do in these situations, situations where a child has decided to leave their parents' faith and that of their childhood. Some of the topics she explores and would be good to ponder (for any parent) were: "Love what is;" "Children's choices aren't about you;" "Let go of blame and guilt;" "Embrace your children's agency;" "See the value in doubts and questions;" "We all have different gifts;" and "Talk to departing family members in helpful ways." That last one I found especially helpful.

I felt like her purpose for writing the book came through in the pages in such a positive way. As the author states:
     I have attempted to offer a wide range of ideas to help people think and act in ways that will bring them some solace and strength. It is my hope that something I have shared will help people move in positive, helpful directions.
(p. 32)
Finding Peace When a Child Chooses Another Path is definitely a book I would recommend to parents, husbands, and wives as we seek to be the best parents and companions to those who struggle in their faith and to those who do not to help our relationships be ones of love and learning. It was well worth the read and definitely a book I can see myself referring back to and sharing with others.

Source: I would like to thank Cedar Fort for my complimentary copy, which did not affect my review in any way.

About the Author

Robin Zenger Baker has a psychology degree from Stanford University, an Organizational Behavior Master’s degree from BYU, and a PhD in Organizational Strategy from UCLA. She is currently studying Family Therapy and Counseling at UMass Boston. She has written for the Ensign magazine, and has edited and co-authored multiple publications in the field of organizational behavior. She is a past president of the BYU Alumni Association Boston chapter, and currently works to raise funds for local inner city youth to attend church schools.

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