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The Art of Family: Rituals, Imagination, and Everyday Spirituality
by Gina Bria
"It is not the lack of time that crushes our family lives, it is the lack of presence, stricken as we are with the tasks, anxieties and guilt of being in a family. But in between what we all struggle with: the parenting, spousing, cleaning up, working, and carving out a minute or two for yourself, how do you give yourself to your children in the conditions you find yoursel ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 11th 1998 by Dell
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This book breathes imagination and spirituality into the most quotidian aspects of family life. Written by an anthropologist, the tone and format is unique and interesting. It's organized into sections by theme and within each section are dozens of meditations -- as short as a paragraph or two but no more than a few pages, which makes it a perfect book to pick up when you have a moment of quiet, but not much longer.
I'm not much of a reader of parenting books. There are a few reasons for this: 1) non-fiction books bore me 2) I don't like to be told what to do and 3) I have found parenting to be more detective work than formula following. Many parenting books seem to want the reader to believe that if they do A, B and C, then X, Y and Z will happen. Instead of writing a book about inputs and outputs, in The Art of Family Gina Bria has written a book about imagination and faith and how the two weave together ...more
I flew through this book and loved every page! Nita Andrews recommended it when we asked her about parenting books. Because it is about family, when it covers imagination, play and touch, it is framed in the context of all family relationships. The encouragement, hope and ideas I found here for building a lasting family unit that grows along with our marriage and our children will continue to shape this house.
This book was inspirational and enjoyable overall, though I was hoping for more ritual (rather than descriptions of how bedtime can be a ritual) in terms of actual ceremony (there is none). A very lyrical writing style and gentle reminders about what really matters in family life. The book ended abruptly and I was actually briefly convinced I'd received a partial edition somehow.
Intelligent perspective on the "how to" of family life: integrating imagination, culture, and play in the building of a family. The book doesn't just focus on kids, which is refreshing, given the types of books that tend to fall into this genre.
This book came to me as a new parent. I now have adolescent children and it continues to be an encouragement to focus on helping our family love and enjoy each other. It has been a significant tool and a gift for me in these years and I'm thankful for it's insight and wisdom.
I read this with a few other moms and enjoyed the ideas and discussion that followed. It feels a little patchwork at times, but by the time I finished it I appreciated some overall themes and take-aways that had solidified for me. It's a unique book, and I think most people would appreciate the fresh inspiration for creating and preserving a family that it offers.