A Little Time and a Keyboard: Chicken Soup for the Soul - Parenthood

Chicken Soup for the Soul - Parenthood

Monday, June 3, 2013

It’s always an uplifting experience to read a title from the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies.  I just finished “Parenthood – 101 Heartwarming and Humorous Stories about the Joys of Raising   (disclosure: we received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review).
Children of All Ages,” by authors Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Amy Newmark.

The book follows the Chicken Soup formula: presenting short inspiring tales from different contributors; here, they relate the joys and tribulations of childrearing.  The book is equal parts heartstring-tugging and funny.  Tales range, for instance, from a newborn who needs emergency surgery, to a tired mom thwarted in her efforts to go to bed early, to a dad’s musings on his daughter growing up, to a mom’s effort to communicate to her son with autism.

While some might view these types of stories as schmaltzy, for me, they are a reminder that every family has its own particular situations to deal with.  People have problems, make mistakes and don’t have all the answers.  But somehow, the joys of having a child come through and (hopefully) outweigh the negatives.

There were a few stories that resonated with me.  “Priorities” details a father’s feeling bogged down by the minutiae of life (bills, household tasks, etc.) until he receives a wake-up call in the form of his toddler’s scream.  “Suddenly, nothing in the world was imperative except making sure that my girl was okay.”   Thankfully, she was and he was left with a readjusted view of life.

I think my favorite is “Listen and Learn,” told by the mother of a son with autism.  She writes of how, while attending a gala function, she challenged herself to go the entire night without mentioning autism.  She relates she thought to herself, “Can you talk about anything else?  Can you turn off the educator, advocator, blogger for one night and just listen? Can you listen, for once, without comparing?  Can you genuinely smile because her daughter does ballet and made the honor roll? Can you understand that her concern is a valid one, her son talking too much in class?  Can you listen to another mother’s story and just appreciate her because she’s a mother…with experiences so different yet so similar to your own?”

The woman did listen.  And as another mom talked about her son and the woes of his toddlerhood, she proceeded to say that every day with him was a blessing: he was born at 27 weeks, weighing less than two pounds, and spent five months in the hospital.  The author comments, “I remember my friend Judith’s wise words: human suffering is not a competitive sport.  And all of us mothers treasure our children, our gifts, with fierceness, and all of our children are miracles.”  To that I say, amen.

**Disclosure: We received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate our reviews. No compensation was received. All opinions are 100% our own.

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