Different: The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved HimSally Clarkson, Nathan ClarksonTyndale House / 2017 / Trade Paperback$11.99 Retail:4.5 Stars Out Of 5 10 Reviews
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Super duper small print!5 Stars Out Of 5An Amazing Book--a Must-Read!March 24, 2017Super duper small print!Quality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5A while back, I began to read this book by Nathan and Sally Clarkson. When I had seen the description of this book, I had been very curious about it. One of my very favorite parenting books is The Journey of the Strong Willed Child by Kendra Smiley. One of the things I love most about that book is that it includes both her perspective, her husband's perspective, and her son's. I learned so much from seeing their different sides. This book by Nathan and Sally Clarkson is very helpful in that same way--it is written by both Sally Clarkson, the mom, and Nathan Clarkson, her son.
This book tackles many issues parents struggle with today: anxiety, depression, ADHD, and mental illness. Nathan lives with OCD, anxiety, and depression. Sally homeschooled Nathan and his siblings throughout their growing up years, so she lived with these companions of Nathan's day in and day out. Two of her other children also live with OCD as well. She intimately knows what it means to struggle to love your child through the ups and downs of life. Nathan knows what it is to live with these struggles.
This book is not meant to be a one-size fits all approach to parenting children with mental illness, rather it is meant to be an encouragement to parents who are walking through these things with their own children. But, I would recommend this to all parents. Why? Why would I recommend it even if your children do not live with mental illness?
Because you will know someone who is--whether you have a friend who is living with mental illness or a friend who's child lives with mental illness. It is important to have compassion and understanding for one another. It is especially important to be aware of these things so that we can love people well in the church! Medicine continues to face such stigma in the church when it comes to mental illness--so much so that it is often an impediment to people getting help when they really need it.
I want to include two quotes from the book that deeply encouraged me. The first is from Nathan on page 186.
"The TRUTH is, we live in a deeply fractured world, and we don't always have a choice about being broken. But we do have a choice about where we let our brokenness lead us.
We can follow it into escape or addition.
But we can also follow it straight to God. To the One who knows us inside and out--with all our mistakes, broken parts, insecurities, and battles--and who still loves us."
And from Sally Clarkson on page 193:
"I had to learn that God never intended me to judge my children's value by how well they fit the assembly line of cultural expectations or my own dreams of what I thought motherhood should be like."
Yes!! I believe this to be true for every child. I have watched my children and seen the times when other adults see them for who they are and also when adults and children have expected them to fit a mold. There was a time when I was troubled that one of my children didn't fit the mold (and still doesn't). But, I'm no longer troubled by it because I've seen that what wasn't seen to fit has actually now become a gift!
If you are looking for a book on mental illness, parenting, and children, I'd highly recommend reading this one. But, honestly, I think it would be an interesting and good read for any parent!
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale publishing, but these opinions are my own!
Seasons of GraceAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Open and InsightfulMarch 3, 2017Seasons of GraceAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Nathan and Sally speak volumes as they share from their heart in this insightful book about living with an out-of-the-box child. Raising Nathan during a time when many of these disorders (ADHD, OCD, etc) were not well-known and there weren't many solutions to the issues at hand, Sally bravely attempted to bring Nathan up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Dealing with his attention issues and other obsessive compulsive problems day in and day out were a challenge and struggle for Sally. Yet, she continuously sought to love her son and reach out to him.
Sally and Nathan share the ups and downs of their years together. Nathan shares his feelings, and what it was like to have these disorders, and his deepest desires. Sally shares the encouragement she received from God's word, the insights she got and practiced daily, as well as, the difficulties, including criticism and advice from well-meaning people. They have become vulnerable to help others. We get an inside look, but we also get encouragement on our own journeys with out-of-the-box kids.
This book helped me tremendously in recognizing the needs in my own children's lives. Neither have the equal amount of challenges Nathan faced, but there are certain things I can pick out in each child that relate. And Sally's encouragement and support was just what I needed to be reminded to seek God, cater to their hearts, and remember that they were each created individually in God's image for a purpose here on earth. They are unique and loved by their Creator. When I am baffled, confused and at the end of my rope, He is the one I need to turn to.
I believe this book will be an asset to any mother, but also to those who may have already been on this journey and need some extra encouragement. Maybe you just know some kids like this, work with them, or have family members with these struggles. Nathan's point of view can help one who is going through this even as a grown up, as many times the challenges are not out-grown. For me... this book offers hope, insight, and a better outlook. I am so thankful they took the time and made the effort to share their story.
I received a free copy of this book through the Tyndale Blogger Network to read. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
PninaPearlAge: Under 18Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Inspiring and UpliftingMarch 2, 2017PninaPearlAge: Under 18Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Although I love to read, there aren't many books that leave me feeling the way this book did. After I finished the very last page, I wished there was more. I felt encouraged and empowered.
As some of you may know faith does not always come easily to me. I've always had a lot of questions about a lot of things, including faith. Part of that is because I have something called Aspergers, which means I'm basically high-functioning autistic. I've never felt degraded by Aspergers, but that doesn't mean it's easy being an Aspie. I deal with things like being socially awkward and having sensory processing issues, and I also have a hard time understanding faith. I tend to feel disconnected during worship, and sermons can be difficult for me to wrap my mind around.
But this book has helped me with some of that.
Different is written by Sally and Nathan Clarkson. Nathan has OCD and a few other diagnoses that make him, well, different. He sees the world in his own unique way - which sometimes makes him misunderstood by others. However, through all the highs and lows, he and his mom have believed that his differences are all a part of what could build him up.
What I like most about Different:
1. It's easy to read. There's no 'Christianese' (I've never been able to understand those types of phrases) or long chapters. Each chapter is divided into a section written by Nathan and a section written by Sally. It's a super quick read (so quick it left me wishing there was more).
2. It's not about how to "fix" a person who is "different." It doesn't talk about all the things that are wrong about OCD or ADD or ADHD. Rather, this books is a compilation of personal stories (and pencil sketches drawn by Nathan) that share what it's like to be different and how Nathan and Sally have grown closer to God because of it.
3. This book does not condone hiding behind a diagnosis. It's not about making excuses for mistakes you've made or the way you live your life just because you have a "problem." Nathan and Sally encourage you to believe in your (or your child's) potential. They have a calling to be a hero in their own way.
I am beyond elated that I came across this book. Different has not only inspired me in ways I'd never felt before - it has also taught me that being different is
If you or your child is out-of-the-box, and you want to be encouraged and uplifted, read this book! You won't regret it! No matter how different you are, you can still dare to make your story a great one.
(I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.)
peggbSullivan, InAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Good to see the point of view of the Son.March 1, 2017peggbSullivan, InAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5So often we only see how someone's actions are affecting us. It was nice to see Nathan's point of view. I believe I can understand more of what is going on within the person. I will now think differently with someone "Outside of the Box" in my family.
Ruth4 Stars Out Of 5Each child is unique in his own wayFebruary 24, 2017RuthQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Each child is unique in his own way. It's when that uniqueness labels a child as "different" that can be stressful for both parent and child. Nathan is the writer and star of the movie Confessions of a Prodigal Son. The response he received from that movie led to writing this book so he and his mom, Sally, could reach out to people who have been or are going through similar situations. This book shows the raw feelings of both the parent and child and what it's like to know there is a difference. Parenting a "normal" child is hard enough, but when serious issues, such as mental illness and learning disabilities, are thrown in, "different" doesn't seem to cover it.
Mother and son share their perspectives of the same life stories. The stories are deeply personal snippets of their lives while Nathan was growing up.
This is a great book for any parent of a child who doesn't seem to fit into society's norms in one way or another.