What the book's about: A Good and Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker is a book about her daughter, Penny, and in particular, Penny's Down Syndrome diagnosis. It's a book about parenting and above all, it's a book about grace.
Why I read this book: A number of bloggers I follow have recommended this book at various times.
My favorite quotes from the book:
- "As much as I insisted that our experience was different from other parents', and that our child was different from other children, different didn't mean less than."
- "Jesus didn't ask Peter to embrace his suffering. He was honest that Peter would be taken where he did not want to go. There was no sentimentality. No false piety. No stoicism. Just a statement of reality: The road ahead would be hard, but this is the road where I will be with you."
- "I had always assumed it was very sad to have a child with mental retardation, or, for that matter, to be a person with mental retardation. But why? Why was that sad - because our culture held the intellect in such high regard?"
- "Did I recognize the value of my daughter independent of her accomplishments or would she need to prove herself to me?"
- "One word I did like was vulnerable. Penny was vulnerable - physically, mentally, even socially & emotionally. Another was dependent. Penny was, and would be, dependent upon others for some level of care throughout her life. Perhaps the reason I liked those words was because they described what I wanted to admit about myself. That I, too, was vulnerable, much as I liked to see myself as invincible. That I, too, was dependent upon others, much as I liked to think of myself as self-sufficient."
- "I couldn't reserve baptism for adults who could articulate a profession of faith in Jesus anymore. God was too big for that."
- "Most parents of kids with disabilities focused on their child's weaknesses. Instead we should try to identify Penny's strengths and help her grow into those strengths."
- "There was no need to compare the answers to 'Who are you?' It was just a way to find the good, the particular, with anyone."
- "We didn't have family devotions. We didn't listen to Christian radio. Until Penny initiated, I hadn't even been trying to tell her about Jesus. She just seemed to like Him all on her own."
Who I'd recommend this book for: I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to any parent of a child who has Down Syndrome. Additionally, I'd recommend it for anyone who ministers to such families. Beyond that, though, Amy has written a book that ANY parent will enjoy and be challenged by.