Thursday, November 8, 2012

Grace and Truth Books ~ Too Wise to be Mistaken, Too Good to be Unkind {Schoolhouse Review}


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Grace and Truth Books is an online Christian bookstore built on the approach that they will market books "that will glorify God, strengthen His people in their walk, and call all peoples to find joy in knowing His gospel and following Him". ~ from the website

Grace and Truth Books offered the Schoolhouse Review Crew 13 books from which to choose and review. I had the opportunity to review the excellent book Too Wise to be Mistaken, Too Good to be Unkind written by Cathy Steele. What a great book!

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Our Story

When our Eli was about two years old, we knew something just wasn't right. His lack of communication went beyond just a boy talking late. He had an unusual obsession with lights. He would cry at certain noises. He was obsessed with commercials. And then he started compulsively lining up his toys. Everything became increasingly obvious when his baby sister came along. He was fine with her, unless she babbled. Then he came unglued.

We learned of a state sponsored program where he could receive in-home special services and then attend a developmental delay preschool once he turned three. Early intervention was certainly the key and I am forever grateful! We were advised not to have Eli screened for an official diagnosis of autism, but it was clear from the specialists that he was somewhere on the spectrum. We knew that he had speech and social delays and some mild sensory issues. So we started down the path of treating his deficiencies.

Eli is now a super-smart, thriving 9 year old boy. He is quirky as can be, which is exactly how God created him. We believe he actually has Asperger's Syndrome, and he is very high functioning. In fact, other than his quirkiness, you wouldn't be able to tell that he had any problems. And we don't consider them problems, anyway.

The Steele's Story

David and Cathy Steele had a challenge with their son Drew right from the start. Not knowing that he was autistic, they assumed that he was just battling his sinful nature. So, they took the approach of raising their son with strict Godly principles, addressing even the smallest of infractions with immediate and consistent discipline. The thing that really unnerved Cathy, though, was Drew's lack of personal attachment to her.

Through many trials and tribulations, advice, communication with other parents with autistic children, and several different methods, the Steeles learned that using behavior modification in addition to their tried-and-true biblical principles of discipline was the best thing for their son.

Reflections on Parenting an Autistic Child

When I read the first few chapters of the book, I thought, "Geez, lady, lighten up on your baby!" Cathy Steele was intense in her style of parenting right from the start. She would later find out that it was a good thing that she was so strict! It set the stage for battling the "monster" of autism in her son.

Our family also found that strict discipline (aka "not babying our son") has made a huge difference in Eli's behavior and ability to cope with those things that cause him stress. I could really relate to Cathy Steele, although I don't think Eli's prognosis of potential autism freaked me out as much as it did her.

Earmarked Passages in the Book

"We would never try to provoke Drew if we knew how he expected something to be done, but at the same time, we didn't give in to or accommodate him if he lost control over something after we had said to do it a certain way. We felt we had to train him to obey readily and happily despite his apparent distress over the situation ... He had to learn to get control over his spirit -- how could he survive this life if he didn't?" {page 79, emphasis added}

"His cries had real concrete meaning, meaning only Drew knew. They meant more than just rebellion against my authority -- they were bigger, much bigger ... I still tried to continue treating him the same way, holding him to the same standard of self-control -- only now with more patience and understanding." {page 114, emphasis added}

"The Scriptures do not endorse the notion that a child will naturally choose what is proper and upright, because of the condition of his lost and depraved heart ... God has provided parents to guide, teach, train, and restrain; the child left to his own way is unable to do these things himself." {pages 185-186, emphasis added}

"[A]s parents, what really may be in question is the accuracy of our levels of expectations. In some ways, I consider it a blessing that God waited to reveal to us our son's autism. Had we known sooner, we are positive we would have lowered our expectations of Drew and excused him for his weaknesses." {page 219, emphasis added}

Conclusion

This book truly is excellent. Although it is written about an autistic child, the general principles of how to parent a child in a sinful and depraved world is something every parent of special needs children can use. Cathy Steele does an excellent job of sharing her heart for accomplishing this goal.

I highly recommend this book. I wish that I would have read it at the beginning of our journey.

Too Wise to be Mistaken, Too Good to be Unkind can be purchased at the Grace and Truth Books online store in paperback form for $9.75 or in the form of an ebook for $5.50.

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew site to read more reviews of this book, as well as reviews of the following books:

Your Child's Profession of Faith, Dennis Gundersen, for parents
Raising Maidens of Virtue, Stacy McDonald, for mothers & daughters ages 8-15
Courtship or Dating: So What's the Difference?, Dennis Gundersen, for parents or mature teens
Of Knights and Fair Maidens, Jeff & Danielle Myers, ages 14-19
With the Children on Sundays, Sylvanus Stall, all ages, especially good for ages 4-10
Collector's Edition: Seven Favorite 19th-Century Children's Stories, ages 8-12
From the Children's Character Building Collection (11 vol) these two:
        - The Little Medicine Carrier, ages 8-12
        - The Reward of Childhood Truth, ages 8-12
From the Boys Heritage Series (9 vol)
         - Gerrit and His Dog, boys ages 8-12
         - The Young Christian, boys ages 10-14
From the Girls Heritage Series (8 vol)
        - First Impressions of God, girls ages 5-8
        - Behind Mr. Bunyan, girls ages 8-12


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{Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.}

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading this book too. I could relate to her in so many ways. I too wish I had this to read at the beginning of our journey. We have a thriving 13 yr. old high functioning son too.

    ReplyDelete

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