Tuesday, April 17, 2012

One of my favorite books is the autobiographical Too Wise to Be Mistaken, Too Good to Be Unkind: Christian Parents Contend with Autism.

None of our twelve children has autism. Despite this, I have read Cathy Steere's book multiple times. As she and her husband struggle with inexplicable behaviors in their first son during his babyhood and toddler years, they determine to be consistent in lovingly training Drew to behave in socially acceptable ways. Cathy shows this same consistency in teaching the very bright little boy reading skills. She never gives up, and she never gives in. When the Steeres eventually find the right treatment plan for Drew, the willing obedience to which he has been trained makes a remarkable difference in how effective the treatment is and how quickly they witness change.

Cathy explains, "Our goal was to always consider Drew's character, and even though we were as consistent as possible and even at times weary over the lack of improvement, we never forgot our responsibility to train and mold his character. That remained our highest duty to the children God blessed us with. Scripture does not lower its standards of how man ought to behave, nor does it exempt one who is autistic...or has Attention Deficit Disorder, or Down's Syndrome, or any other disorder. God's standards, like Himself, never change. It may be more difficult for some to reach certain standards than for others, but the standard remains." (pg. 142)
As we've taken nine older children from orphanages into our family, we've had to train each of them obey an authority figure. We had to coach them in socially and culturally acceptable behavior. We've had to teach them what it looks like to serve Christ by serving others. At times all these parenting demands have felt daunting, but Cathy Steere's example pushes me to refuse to give up and refuse to give in. Today has been a tough day in parenting a certain seven-year-old who's experimenting with two-year-old techniques for managing her parents. I'm grateful I can open Too Wise to Be Mistaken, Too Good to Be Unkind for the gentle reminders I need to stay the course.

Even if your situation is not extreme like that of the Steere's family or ours, I highly recommend Cathy's book. I believe every parent of young children would be blessed by reading this unusual opportunity to peak in on someone else's child training. And it's even on sale! (See the link above)


  1. My mom and I also really enjoyed that book - since we have several special needs children in our family, it was a blessing to read a book about special needs parenting that gave a Christian perspective! Often, books about parenting children with special needs emphasize a humanistic view. "Too Wise to be Mistaken" was definitely a blessing to us!

  2. That's interesting! I've never had to deal with a situation like that personally, but I've thought about it, and I think that excerpt is right on!