Almost every day, one of Amy Julia’s children says something or asks something that prompts her to think more carefully: “What ‘lasting’ mean?” William wonders when he hears a song about God being an everlasting God. “If the children who died went to heaven, then why are we sad?” Penny asks, when she passes by a funeral for a victim of the Sandy Hook shootings. “I don’t wanna’ get ‘tized!” says Marilee about baptism. These conversations deepen her relationships with her children, but they also deepen and refine her own understanding of what she believes, why she believes it, and what she hopes to pass along to the next generation.
Small Talk is a narrative based upon these conversations. It is not a parenting guide. It does not offer prescriptive lessons about how to talk with children. Rather, it tells stories based upon the questions and statements Amy Julia’s children have made about the things that make life good (such as love, kindness, beauty, laughter, and friendship), the things that make life hard (such as death, failure, and tragedy), and what we believe (such as prayer, God, and miracles).
Amy Julia moves in rough chronological order through the basic questions her kids asked when they were very young to the more intellectual and spiritual questions of later childhood. Small Talk invites other parents into these same conversations, with their children, with God, and with themselves. Moving from humorous exchanges to profound questions to heart-wrenching moments, Amy Julia encourages parents to ask themselves—and to talk with their children about—what matters most.
About the author:
Amy Julia Becker is the author of Small Talk: Learning From My Children About What Matters Most (Zondervan, 2014), A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations and a Little Girl Named Penny (Bethany House), named one of the Top Books of 2011 by Publisher’s Weekly, and Penelope Ayers: A Memoir. A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she blogs regularly for Christianity Today at Thin Places. Her essays about faith, family, and disability have appeared on the Motherlode blog of The New York Times, USA Today, ABCNews.com, Theatlantic.com, The Christian Century, Christianity Today, The Huffington Post,and Parents.com. Amy Julia lives with her husband Peter and three children, Penny, William, and Marilee in western CT.
Small Talk is such a beautiful book. It’s funny in parts, but so poignant in others. Amy Julia Becker is transparent about the struggles and questions that come up in every day life, even ones that involve her daughter that has Down’s Syndrome. Amy handles these questions with truthfulness and grace that are both encouraging and challenging. It’s so easy as moms to assume. Assume that everyone else has it together. Assume that her children obey with a pleasant attitude. Assume that you’re the only one that lays in bed, thinking about what you’d do if you didn’t have any thing to do at all.
When reality comes crashing in our our quiet thoughts it is jarring and difficult at times. Amy gives a wonderful challenge to enjoy those moments and stop waiting for whatever it is that we think will make us happy throughout Small Talk. To look at the every day, to listen to the questions our children ask, to see the innocence they bring into our lives for the gift that it is. I love that even though my life looks a bit different from Amy’s, since her kids go to public school, I can still be encouraged and challenged by her Holy Spirit inspired words.
I think this book is great for any mom to read. It’s a great reminder that you are not the only one that dreams of quiet vacations or even just quiet showers. And I have a copy of Small Talk to give to one reader!
To enter, just tell me what you’re looking forward to most this holiday season. I’m looking forward to all of it. Can that be an answer?! Giveaway will end on December 5 at 7pm. Winner will be notified by email.