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Book Review
Wonderful Ways to Be a Family
By Judy Ford

Reviewed by Beth Moscov
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 18 No. 2, March-April 2001, p. 71

Parenting can be a powerful, magical learning experience. Judy Ford captures much of this experience in Wonderful Ways to Be a Family. In this small, gift-sized book, Judy shows how many daily events can become life lessons for us and for our children. In fact, she often manages to reframe negative experiences in a positive way so they can be seen as growth experiences for all members of the family.

Ford tells about the day that her six-year-old daughter, Amanda, first learned about the phrase "grounding." Amanda had gone to a friend's home where the older sister was "grounded." Later that day she asked her mother, "When can I get grounded?" Upon further discussion, it turned out that Amanda thought that getting grounded meant playing in the dirt! The author takes this cute story one step further. She thought about the idea of discipline and guidance and decided to apply the idea of "getting grounded" to her family. Now when anyone is grumpy or angry or just can't find anything to do, Mom suggests going out to the garden and digging. So far, working in the dirt has never failed to change the mood of whoever needed to be "grounded!"

Wonderful Ways to Be A Family is full of these short, sweet, pertinent thoughts about being a family. Each section is two small pages long and easy to read at one sitting. Titles include "Be Willing To Be Wrong," "Provide A Safe Haven," "Admit Your Quirks," "Frolic, Romp, and Play," "Eat Your Meals Outdoors," and "Provide A Loving Presence." Each small section contains a brief story or discussion about healing ourselves, laughing, or helping our children grow. One of my favorite quotes is: "It takes true guts and maturity to approach life's annoyances while remaining lighthearted." This passage reflects the book's philosophy on parenting and family.

This book would be good to leave lying on a table, so any family member can pick it up when he or she needs a lift, or to give as a gift. Just reading a few pages can help you reframe your approach to the world more positively. Judy Ford is inspiring, just when you need it most: "By sharing your dreams, hopes, fears, and aspirations, you become intimate. Opening your heart and exposing your secrets strengthens your capacity to love."

Wonderful Ways to Be a Family is published by Conari Press © 1998.

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