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on August 27, 1997
Every now and then a rare book appears which can change your life. This is one.

Polly Berrien Berends is wise and gentle. She brings lofty or deep spiritual insights to the rubber-meets-the-road issues of daily parenting: how is one to approach fears of childbirth? How should one talk to a toddler? How does one decide which toys to buy?

I had the good fortune to read this book just prior to becoming a parent, and if possible, you should too. It is not a quick or easy read, rather a very meaningful one. Sometimes I had to stop and think after only three or four pages. But this was well worth it.

If you are already a parent, or if you may never become a parent, read this book. Although it addresses parenting issues it is really a book about human-being-hood.
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on June 21, 1999
I had the fortune to begin to read this book 10 years before our twins were born. Whether you are a parent or not Berend's statement of the perennial spiritual wisdom is to be savored and dipped into over and over again. The book is so rich, so moving, so poetic that frequently you will find that you need to stop and reflect on her words after a page or two.
This book, along with Berend's unfortunately out-of-print "Coming To Life", is a true spiritual classic.
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on April 16, 2003
I discovered this at the discount table of a bookstore in Lexington, Kentucky. It does not get old or outdated.
How easily this book could have drifted off into self-indulgent Freudian psychobabble, Fundamentalist moralism or New Age narcissism--all of which Alice Miller has warned us against--in the hands of a less gifted writer. The fact that it doesn't at any time in 340-plus pages is nothing short of miraculous. Polly Berends not only challenges one's view of parenting and loving, but also of Christianity and culture and the universe itself, by bringing mysticism back to the modern Christian mind while not alienating those of other (or no particular) faiths. Filled with transcendent prose, quotes of everything from Buddhist sacred text to the New Testament to e.e. cumming poetry, and the writer's own heart (the heart of a proud mother and wife who walks with God), this is a truly beautiful work that made my mind scream what was important about my personal relationship with my son to me, above the distractions of my ego, with virtually every page.
Consider yourself the child, and this book will help you raise yourself. And then imagine what kind of real parent you can be while following its lessons.
This is the ultimate holiday, Mother/Father's Day or birthday gift for anyone with children, bar none.
Beautiful.
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on August 9, 2005
Wow, this book is the one parenting book that I have read that I can say changed my entire way of looking at my job as a mother. The spirituality of being a parent and the spiritual lessons that await us every single day are now so apparent in my mind after reading this book. My relationship with my spirited child and nursing babe has completely been transformed as I process this book and consciously live out the spiritual moments of my day. Please give this book at least a chance to enter into your journey of parenthood.
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on April 24, 2007
When you find yourself wondering how you can continue doing the mundane, day to day, oft mindless work of raising children then you need to read this book.

I am raising 4 children in a culture that does not value community or child rearing as a noble vocation. Polly's book gave me strength in the face of despair. It taught me that my children had chosen to come into my life to teach me how to live as much as for me to teach them how to be. Do not let the spiritual nature of this book frighten you. Her teaching is gentle and wise.
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on January 1, 2010
Peace, this book brings peace to those early years of new parenting. I remember how much it helped me deal with the emotional and identity adjustments a new mother has to make. It was priceless in terms of getting me past my own ego. I found that reading this book for a few minutes each night, especially in that first year of being a mom, really helped me stay focused in terms of the kind of parent I wanted to be for my daughter. Not the kind of child I wanted my daughter to be. I think this is some of what other reviewers might also be referring to when they say it changed their ideas of parenting. This is not a book with a list of things you must buy-- on the contrary, the author makes an enlightened case for how little you actually have to buy when you have a baby. The only problem is that the beliefs in this book are not popular ones in our mainstream society. This isn't a book about controlling your child or making him or her smarter.
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on March 1, 2016
This was a gift for my son and his wife who are expecting their first child. It is a beautiful book, filled to the brim with info that is helpful and pertinent. A must read for all new parents! Thank you.
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on March 8, 2008
I highly recommend this book to any parent. I am expecting my first child any day now and it has been such a comfort reading this book as I prepare for parenthood! My mother had the original version long ago before she had me. I must say I like this updated version better--even the author says she needed to make the changes/updates as she had become older/wiser. I believe the first version was writtin in the late 60's early 70's, so this version, written in the mid-late 90's is definitely an update. Regardless or time or era, this book is essential, in my humble opinion! If you consider yourself a spiritual person, this book is for you. If you don't, it could still be helpful.
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on January 19, 2011
This book was suggested to me over 26 years ago when I began my family. I learned so many practical, helpful things and learned a great deal about parenting. Now my children's friends are getting married and starting their families. I would love to give a few of them a copy of this book. I gave out many through the years. Unfortunately it is out of print. I was happy to get this copy. Re reading it now, I see it is still the treasure I thought it was many years ago.
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on August 31, 2010
The other reviewers have said most of what I would have said. So I just wanted to say, I am glad we found this book when my wife was pregnant with our first child, 25 years ago. Raising our kids was a joy (most of the time), and I must thank the author of this book for contributing to that. All three kids have become amazing teens/adults, people I really enjoy being with.
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