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A Father's Book Of The Spirit

Daily Meditations

by William Alexander
Book review copyright © 1997 by Steve McDonald

 


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William Alexander, A Father's Book Of The Spirit(New York, NY: Avon, 1997). Order on-line

 




Book cover
A Father's Book Of The Spirit
by William Alexander
Order on-line

Being a parent is a tough job to begin with. These days, with the changing nature of society and the development of new approaches to parenting, there is nothing simple or straightforward about being a parent -- what might well have been the "normal" or accepted way of dealing with children has been swept away by the needs of today, the requirements of a society filled with constant distractions, demands upon the parents that distract them from the children and colorful, violent intrusions from all quarters that undermine moral structure and create a demand for cheaply-made merchandise.

In this societal maelstrom, the role of a father has been reshaped in a variety of ways, made malleable by a parade of those who would define "father" as an inoffensive blur, countered by others who would have "father" be a diamond-hard rule-maker. William Alexander's book of daily meditations strives to bring about something more harmonious -- to help in the creation of fathers who are sensitive to their children, without losing sight of the firmness that helps to bring structure to the life of a family.

What Alexander has to contribute, particularly, is that it is okay to be human, to have weaknesses, to have sensitivities, to have learned from failure. The art in these meditations is in the way they simultaneously affirm the inward state while provoking the reader to look and reach outward -- to work with the available tools, so to speak, and thus help to nurture the children. There are brief lessons throughout on a range of subjects from the practical to the spiritual -- "We can offer our children wisdom," he writes at one point, "or offer them our attitude ... We can show them our imperfections or lie about our lives."

A Father's Book Of The Spirit is an excellent, subtle book of meditations, one that bears reading through, and then working through day by day, with much contemplation. It's good to see such a book written with fathers in mind.

--Reviewed by Steven McDonald


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