“What if raising [your different child] is an act of service [God has] called you to? Will you accept him as a gift? Will you submit to the circumstances he brings to your whole family because you believe God is in control? Will you humble yourself and accept God’s will and cease to fight against [your child]? Even if no one else ever sees the battles you have lived through or knows your quiet faithfulness to love him and to believe forward into his life? Your service of worship is not lost.”
I do believe that all children are gifts and special and made in God’s image, so they should be respected and treasured, both in families and the culture at large. But some kids are a little different in one way or another. And whether that’s because of mental illness or physical disability or giftedness or just eccentricity, whenever someone is different from the norm, there is conflict. As a parent, this can be a very intense and difficult thing to navigate.
Enter Sally Clarkson, whose books I have referenced before. People who write parenting books are generally assumed to be perfect, but in her latest volume, Sally took a different direction, writing about her son’s mental illness and how that impacted her life and perspective.
Different is eponymously not the same as Sally’s other books–she co-wrote it with her son, Nathan, who she describes as her out-of-the-box kid. If you have one (or two, or more) of these, you should certainly read the book. While the Clarksons were dealing with diagnosed mental illnesses, I found their observations equally helpful as a parent of intense/gifted kids who aren’t dealing with any particular medical conditions but are different in some unexpected ways. I appreciated Sally’s honesty and encouragement, and would recommend this book if you are parenting a kid who is different in any way.
Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.