Don't Let Your Kids Be Normal
Publication Date:October 2010
Reviewed Title:Don't Let Your Kids Be Normal: A Partnership for a Different World (2010)
Reviewed Publisher:Influence Publishing, an imprint of Bookshaker, Great Britain. 424 pages, ISBN 978-1907498152
Don't Let Your Kids Be Normal is a rare, very personal work that caps a career of fifty years of personal and professional commitment to the well-being of children and their families. The author felt compelled to write this book because, throughout that time, he could find nothing in the existing literature that adequately reflected his own personal experiences, thoughts, and conclusions. In it he shares the deepest beliefs and convictions that were inspired by his own Odyssey. He writes chapters that are conversations rather than lectures and offers options rather than prescriptions. Relationships are his business and, true to form, he invites his readers, whether parents or professionals, to join him on an urgent introspective journey that may yet assure the quality and safety of all life on earth - our precious but vulnerable home planet.
University professor, master therapist, and notable director of an outstanding residential community for troubled youth, Gerry Fewster has been serving at the critical edge where dreams and realities collide and healing energies must be activated and perfected daily. He has been standing in that ever-so-common, yet sacred, space between adult and child. As you will soon discover, he invariably brings into this space his scholarly knowledge, dedicated curiosity, and a passionate faith in the creative inner Force that is the birthright of human souls.
Structurally, the seven "chapters" serve as staging grounds for approaching what he considers to be our greatest universal challenge - how to prepare our children to move with confidence and competence in a world filled with fear and uncertainty. Here the available evidence is carefully gathered and critically analyzed, until finally the author can articulate meaningful decisions, principles, and actions. The seven chapters are bound together by a brief Prologue in which he introduces himself and his intentions for the book; and an equally brief Epilogue for a final celebration of the surprising place our adult-child interactions occupy in shaping and re-shaping our lives on this planet.
When I first read this book I was pleasantly surprised to learn so much, so quickly about the author as a curious child, a struggling youth, compassionate therapist, and free-thinking professor! These qualities were appealing and interesting to me; we were getting acquainted. Eventually, I realized I was getting all this information directly from Gerry because it was a key feature of how he writes, speaks, and interacts with people. Obviously, he was not trying to teach "self-disclosure" to me as a reader, but I saw that he not only "practices what he preaches" but he is constantly "modeling" a quality of dialog known to improve relationships at any age! As you read ahead, I wonder if you will see what I saw.
Along the way you will encounter fascinating personal stories, original ideas, sharp and beautiful language, courageously independent thinking, and knowledge broad and deep of the prenatal era of human development. Along with clear examples, practical exercises and poetry, you will become acquainted with a host of established experts he brings to every chapter.
If you are concerned about the future of our children, this book is bound to challenge many of your current assumptions and beliefs. If you are a thoughtful parent, or practicing professional, you will have the opportunity to explore new ways to create relationships that nurture the Self of both adult and child and uncover the untapped potential that lies beneath. The chances are that these approaches will be very different from what you learned in school or from your own parents, so I urge you to give them serious consideration; after all, history is in the making and time is of the essence.
(A Personal Note: Gerry is a long-time member of APPPAH especially well known in his home region of British Columbia and Vancouver Island where he and his partner, Judith, direct the Pacific Northwest Institute of Integrative Body Psychotherapy (IBP). Members will also appreciate that all author profits from this book will be donated to the nearby Centre for Child Honouring led by troubadour Raffi Cavoukian, which APPPAH also gladly promotes.)