Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance by John Trent, Ph.D. and Gary Smalley

The Blessing

I got this book for free to review from Booksneeze.  I was excited to read it, but as soon as I began it, I knew I would have trouble getting through it.  It has taken me over a month to read this book, because I had a hard time getting into it and did not really enjoy reading it.  But, I needed to read it to review it, and I was hoping that I would get something out of it, so I would periodically pick it back up and read a bit more.
This revised and updated edition of the book has links to a website with some videos to watch that go with the book.  I watched the first one and part of the second one.
Although this is a "Christian" book, I see it more in the realm of self-help and psychology than that of religion.
The authors have a concept that they call "The Blessing" and they loosely base this concept on verses from the Bible that talk about people being blessed or blessing their children.
"The Blessing" as defined in this book is a way to bless others and make them feel valuable and give them a sense of worth.  We should bless our children and we often can bless others in our lives in this way.
"The Blessing" has 5 elements:
1.  Meaningful touch
2.  A spoken (or written) message
3. Attaching high value
4.  Picturing a special future
5.  An active commitment
To me, the book gets a bit too touchy/feel/self-help/psyschology like when it talks about "did you receive 'the blessing' from your parents?" and when it talkes about people who "did not receive 'the blessing' " in their lives so because of that they became over achievers or drug addicts or had some other problem because they did not "receive 'the blessing'".  That just seems like whiney excuse making to me.

Some of the psychology is very interesting, it is just not necessarily "Christian".  For instance, I was intrigued by the part about how meaningful touch affects our relationships and the studies that were done with a doctor who spent the same amount of time w/ his patients, but he touched some of them on the hand briefly and the others he did not touch and the ones he touched thought he had been with them longer than the untouched patients.  There were also other examples given where a brief touch made customers feel more positive about different people and experiences.  That part struck me because I had been substitute teaching and one thing I had noticed is that when I walk around the classrooms while the students are working and touch the students on the shoulder, they behave better.  Especially if a student is talking too much or doing something else they should not, I just quietly walk over and touch their shoulder and quietly say something to them about getting back on task and it is very effective. 

I thought that some of the Bible verses that were used did not really relate in the way that the authors said they did and felt that they were tossing in Bible verses to make this self-help/psychology book seem "Christian". 
I did find some parts of the book interesting and I learned some things from it.  For the most part though, reading it was a struggle for me.  If I had checked it out from the library, I would have returned it quickly unfinished.

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