I rarely write a review for a book before the publish date but I'm happy to break my own rule for this book. From the time I first heard it was to be Sally's next book, I have anticipated reading it. The subtitle of this book is The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him. As one who made the choice to pull her own different kid out of school for good in third grade and bring him home... I knew this would be interesting.
Different is a book that deals with behavior challenges such as ADHD and mental illness in a thoughtful and Scriptural perspective. This is not a clinical how-to book, nor do Sally and Nathan give you a list of 10 Easy Steps for raising a child with behavior and/or mental health issues. It is gritty and honest and at the same time... inspiring.
It is best described as a story... written from the perspective of the one suffering through being different and the mother who helped him along the way. Which makes this a remarkable book for anyone raising a child who does not fit the norm because we read about what Nathan was feeling in one chapter and how Sally responded in another.
Nathan is a talented writer and he takes the reader into the mind of one who suffers. Different may help you understand what your child is going through a little better and will definitely provide a perspective of his behavior from the child's viewpoint.
Sally shares the wisdom God provided on how to raise such a child, whether it is playing with Legos while he listens to her read (we did the very same thing) or allowing him to listen to music she didn't care for because it helped him concentrate. My son listened to Apocalyptica play Metallica music. With headphones.
Which also brings up the subject as to how other people judge the different child and the decisions parents have made, even God given answers. Sally and Nathan tell the stories honestly, for society in general does not have patience with the out-of-the-box child and unfortunately... the Church can be just as difficult a place for them. I have experienced this first hand as the mother of a severely ADHD child and the wife of a bipolar (manic depressive)/OCD husband.
Different is one of those books that will prove "we read to know we're not alone". It will educate you, encourage you, and give you hope. It will help you to continue on today. And tomorrow. And the next day. For anyone who is on this journey knows there is grace given one day at a time. It will give you the courage to continue on when you want to give up.
Our boys are the same age and both are using their giftedness the way God intended. Both still have to find ways to deal with the challenges they face. However, both are living testimonies that God not only can use out-of-the-box kids but that their afflictions helped form them into the young men God intended them to become.
I highly recommend this book to the obvious reader... the parent of an "out of the box" child. However, this book will help grandparents, brothers, sisters, and other family member to perhaps understand more than they do today. It is also a book I would give to a teenager who suffers from a behavior or mental health condition for it is extremely important they know they are not alone.
Sally and her son, Joel, have written an accompanying study book titled A Different Kind of Hero: A Guided Journey Through the Bible's Misfits that I also recommend. It would make an excellent choice to study for parents with their children, youth groups, Sunday School classes, and even for people who need to see themselves more clearly in the Word.
I have a feeling this will turn out to be the most important book Sally has written, alone or with another person. For there are a lot of outside-the-box kids and adults who need to read it. I encourage you to preorder it today!
Books Mentioned in this Post
- Different: The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him... here.
- A Different Kind of Hero: A Guided Journey Through the Bible's Misfits... here.
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