It’s not a book, really. More of a short story.
Yes, it’s fiction. But perhaps one of the most insightful pieces of fiction, especially as a caution to parents. The other amazing fact about it? It was written nearly 150 years ago, yet the picture of the pitfalls of raising children rings true even now in the 21st century.
What is this amazing work on child rearing, you ask?
The Wise Woman by George MacDonald
In case you don’t know George MacDonald, he was a prolific Scottish writer who influenced the likes of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, W.H. Auden, Madeline L’Engle, G.K. Chesterton, and Oswald Chambers. His works span from sermons to fantasy, with fairy tales, romances, and poetry in between. Besides being a great writer and thinker, MacDonald has one other very significant recommendation for this work on raising children–he and his wife had 11 of them!
I found The Wise Woman not only a good explanation of the inner character of children, but a look at how we, as their parents, often inadvertently reinforce their flaws instead of help them see themselves for who they are. And don’t we really want that, in the end? We want our children to see themselves. To change what needs to be changed in order to make the character one of kindness and integrity. We want them to want to be good. And when they can’t, we want them to fall hard into the grace of God.
Honestly, I feel that if I’d read this book as a new parent it would have saved me much in the way of grief, both in my own actions and in understanding the motivations of my child and how to address those. But of course, as the Wise Woman does in the story, God so very graciously took my children in His hands and changed them, and He showed me my own shortcomings in the process. We are all the better for that grace.
Here’s a link to the .99 ebook copy of this amazing tale: http://www.amazon.com/Woman-Stories-Fantasy-George-MacDonald-ebook/dp/B001FSJAJ8/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-2&qid=1435177774
I’ll be on the lookout for a physical copy to add to my library. I’ll also be recommending it to my own children when they have children, as well as to all the young parents I meet along the way.