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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
Lion UK (July 9, 2010)
Rob Parsons is an international speaker on family issues and the author of many best-sellers including The Heart of Success and The 60-Minute Father. Over half a millon people have attended his live seminars.
Visit the author's website.
List Price: $12.95
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Lion UK (July 9, 2010)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
The Hospital Waiting Room
It is midnight. I am in the waiting room of my local hospital. I’ve brought a neighbour in because he’s had a fall, and I’ve now been sitting for over four hours on plastic chairs that were designed to cause as much discomfort as possible to every part of my anatomy.
I get up, stretch my legs, and wander across to the coffee machine. A young woman of perhaps twenty-four years old is there. She is obviously distraught and drops the coins she is trying to feed into the machine. I suggest she take a seat, pick up the money, and get her coffee for her.
We start chatting and she tells me that her father is seriously ill, and there is some doubt that he will make it through the night. As we sip our drinks I ask her to tell me about him.
She brushes a tear from her face, smiles, and says, “My mum and dad were brilliant - our family life was wonderful. I didn’t know how good it was until I went to college and heard my friends talk about how life was in their homes. It wasn’t that we didn’t argue – we did, lots of times. We were all so very different. I was the rebellious one. I have two sisters and a brother. Sometimes we’d practically come to blows. But we laughed a lot and always knew in our hearts that when it came down to it, we’d be there for each other.”
I say, “It sounds like a great family.”
She nods. “Dad was from a poor home, but he did really well in his career. In fact in the early years of my parents’ marriage he put in such long hours at his office they nearly broke up. After that he changed. It wasn’t that he didn’t continue to work hard, but unlike previously, he was always there when we needed him. I’d be in a school play and suddenly I’d see him slip in at the back. He was sometimes a little late, but he hated missing any of that stuff; it was the same with my brother’s football matches. After he and Mum went through that hard time it seemed his priorities changed.”
I ask, “Is your mum still alive?”
“Oh yes,” she says. “She’s up in the ward with him now...”
I say, “Tell me more…”
It was after two in the morning when we stopped talking, and it had all been about her family life. She told me of holidays and Christmases, of good times and harder ones, and of conflicts that were finally resolved with tears and forgiveness. She spoke of silly things they’d done – like giving each other names from the Jungle Book film for a whole week. She said, “The only problem with that was that we were all teenagers!”
She said, “My mother always used to say the same thing whenever we’d done something silly together, or scary (like when we went abseiling once and my sister got stuck upside down), or even when we’d come through a tough time. She would say, “We made a memory.”
She swallowed hard and I said, “You have lots of them, don’t you?”
“Yes,” she said. “I have hundreds.” She smiled. “Well, I’d better go back up to the ward now. Thanks for talking to me. It helped.”
I eventually left the hospital at nine a.m. As I was approaching my car I noticed a young couple in the parking bay next to mine. They were gingerly loading an obviously brand-new baby into their vehicle, together with various bouquets of flowers. I shouted, “Congratulations!” The father smiled at me.
As I got into my car I found myself thinking of the young woman at the coffee machine and wishing that her father could have shared some of the lessons he’d learned with these new parents at the start of their family life together. And as I let my mind wander, I felt I could almost hear the older man talk of things that make families strong: the need to make time for each other; the power of laughter; the creating of homes where forgiveness is always on the heels of conflict; and the ways to make a memory.
For over twenty years I have travelled the world and listened to people tell me the stories of their families. From Moscow to Melbourne, from Durban to Doncaster, they have shared with me what made their families strong - and sometimes what destroyed them.
My own children are now at the start of their own family life. If they let me - a big if! - what lessons would I love to share with them? Perhaps things I wish I’d done differently - what seemed to work and what didn’t. But these are not just my lessons – they are gleaned from talking to families across the world, sometimes listening to people who often said, “I wish I’d known that earlier in my family life.” So, whether my children ever read them or not - and acknowledging that somebody else’s list may be quite different - here, at least, are my ten life lessons for a strong family life.
This is a “Sixty Minute” book, which means that if you are quick, you can read it in an hour. An hour? What can be said of value that can be read in less than four thousand seconds? Well, something at least... And I know this: whatever size and shape your family is - mother and father, single parent mum or dad, stepfamily - this short book contains things that have the potential to make your family stronger and perhaps even save it from break-up. I’ve known families whose relationships were changed, saved even, by putting into practice just one of the lessons in this book.
If, at the moment, you are going through a good time in your family life, I hope these lessons will make it even better. However, you may be going through a difficult period right now. In my work I see too much of real life to believe there are easy answers to the problems of families in pain. But I hope you will still find something that will help – even if it’s simply the realization that whatever you are experiencing, you are not alone.