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Small Talk: Learning From My Children About What Matters Most Paperback – October 28, 2014

4.8 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

AMY JULIA BECKERwrites about faith, family, and disability for Parents.com, theNew York TimesMotherlode blog, TheAtlantic.com,The Huffington Postparents page, and inChristianity Today,The Christian Century, and numerous other publications. Her first book,A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny, was named one of the "Top Ten Religion Books of 2011" byPublishers Weekly. Amy Julia lives in western Connecticut with her husband and three children.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (October 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310339367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310339366
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Cliches abound when it comes to what we learn from being parents: "My kids teach me how to live in the present....to appreciate the little things....to be more patient..." Please do not make the mistake of thinking that "Small Talk" is merely a feel-good collection of quotable wisdom to consult on those days when being a parent is particularly boring or frustrating. This book is something other, and much more, than that. "Small Talk" invites us to learn, question, and seek alongside our kids, allowing their observations, questions, and interactions with the world to deepen our own questioning and observations about the world--particularly when it comes to those things that are hardest to talk about or comprehend (love, tragedy, forgiveness). Becker's kids say some really cute and funny things. But they also say wise things, and difficult things, and ask profound (and difficult) questions--and Becker invites us to consider, along with her, how those questions can lead us all into deeper reflection and understanding.
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Format: Kindle Edition
As Bill Cosby said in one of his album titles, "Those of you with or without children, you'll understand." Amy Julia Becker is not a stand-up comedian, but parents and non-parents alike will enjoy her tales of raising three very different and sometimes challenging children. In her book Small Talk: Learning from My Children About What Matters Most, Becker tells sweet, amusing, and heart-warming stories about her children. But more importantly, she uses her experiences as a springboard to reflections on spiritual truth.

Like many parents, Becker quickly learned that children can be a gift, a blessing, and, sometimes, a prophetic presence. "For a long time, I though my children were a distraction from the work God was doing in my life and in the world around me. I am starting to realize they are the work God is doing in my life." Becker is at her best when reflecting on how to communicate spiritual truths to her children. When she attempts to communicate theological ideas, simplifying and and clarifying for her preschoolers, she turns the questions to herself, clarifying for herself what she really believes and why.

I especially enjoyed Becker's writing about her daughter Penny, who has Down syndrome. When doctors discussed Down syndrome with her, it was always a list of "everything defective, disabled, and broken about" Penny. But over time, she "went from thinking about her as my disabled daughter to my daughter, [she] started to realize she was no more broken than anyone else. . . . Some of what I had assumed was evidence of brokenness--a lower IQ than a typical child, a longer time learning to walk--was simply evidence that she, too, is a human being dependent on others to grow and enjoy the world.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book that any parent can learn from and read with recognition and deep enjoyment. This is NOT simply about "the innocence of children" revealing God to us, but rather about how God shows Himself to us in our own selves as we parent. Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading “Small Talk: Learning From My Children About What Matters Most” by Amy Julia Becker was so good for my momma soul. With so many other things I could have been doing, I wanted to read her stories – the real-life, ordinary moments she shared with her kids that prompted her to gain eternal perspective.

Yes, she shared about her relationships with each other three children have become deeper by discussion life – and all the changes and people that come with it. But she also uses conversations and moments with her children to reflect on what God is doing around her.

I’ve long been a fan of memoirs, but “Small Talk” gave me a chance to pause in the middle of my own chaos and remember how God shows up among all those words my own kids speak. And I know it will do that for other people – regardless of how old their kids are or whether they have kids of their own.
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Format: Paperback
Like Amy Julia Becker, my most profound spiritual mothering moments seem to “in the midst of the very ordinary, sometimes very desperate, days.” I found in Becker a wisdom-friend, someone who is walking this child-rearing path beside me, navigating the tricky conversations, fears, feelings of vulnerability, and the daily moments of grace. There is so much goodness in these pages. And a reminder that God is here, teaching me to recognize glory in our quietest, wildest, most ordinary conversations.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book in one sitting--I just couldn't put it down. I laughed, I cried, I prayed. Becker reminds us to notice the little things -- and to truly listen to all that our children have to teach us. Each chapter is encouraging in its own way, as Becker herself learns that it's alright, that she is loved, that she is "bootifuI" (her daughter's word), that she is enough. We all need to hear those words. I'll be buying this book for all my mom-friends for Mother's Day.
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Format: Paperback
Amy Julia Becker’s book, Small Talk: Learning from My Children About What Matters Most, is a beautiful memoir of Becker’s life and the conversations, reflections and applications she’s taken from daily life as a mother of three young children. She takes her readers on her journey of parenting through the years as her family grew and the challenges that came with that growth, including parenting a special needs child. Topics of her reflection include waiting, gratitude, listening, kindness, forgiveness, marriage, and grace, along with so many more.

This is not a parenting guide, but an easy book for busy moms of younger aged children to pick up as they find free moments. It provides continual encouragement and reflection points to ponder long after reading. I was challenged by this book to slow down and reflect on my own life that threatens to move faster than I can keep up, and to record conversations, comments my kids make, and moments where God teaches me through them. Each child is so unique and offers ways to learn and to grow myself as they grow, if only I take the time to slow down and see them as the gift they are.

This quote summed it up nicely for me:

“I slow down. Not because I have suddenly become obedient out of a sense of guilt. But because I finally have my listening ears on – out of an eagerness to hear. And so I bend toward the still small voice of the Spirit, who has been whispering to me all along.”

As moms, our children can help us to really hear. But we just have to take the time to listen. I believe this book will help challenge moms everywhere to do this, and the results will be beautiful.

I have received a free copy of Small Talk: Learning from My Children About What Matters Most from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.
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