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Excerpted from Spiritual Parenting by Hugh and Gayle Prather. Copyright 1996 by Hugh and Gayle Prather. Excerpted by permission of Harmony Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"We write this book not to call for still more outrage and payback, but to call for the beginning of sanity."

Hugh and Gayle Prather, Spiritual Parenting, Part 1

Dear Guardian of a Child of God,

To benefit from this book, you need no faith in religious doctrine. Not even a sense of the One who is always with you and will never abandon you is required. We can assure you that if your child--whether baby, toddler, teen, adolescent, or adult--becomes your greatest pleasure, you will have lived a successful life, and the ramifications of your generosity will never end.

This then, is a parenting book and not a book designed to reform the faithless or to correct world attitudes, if that were even possible. However, our personal distress over the world's treatment of children is unquestionably a primary reason we write about how to be a real mother or father, because it is our opinion, our faith, and our guidance that every parent who chooses to go against the present tide and approach the care of children as sacred work has an effect that reaches far beyond the boundaries of his or her family. The time has come for us to be immediate and reliable parents, as immediate and reliable as the Mother-Father we call God.

A quarter of a century ago Jonathan Schell, in referring to the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, said, "If we can accept this, there is nothing that we cannot accept." Perhaps we have all seen the pictures of the little boy running across a bridge in Sarajevo clutching his dog to his chest while snipers try to shoot him down. Before that we saw mothers and fathers rushing to the bomb site in Oklahoma City to discover that their worst nightmare had come true. Since the advent of television we have seen children being incinerated, bombed, and shelled in innumerable war zones. And from the turn of the century, in newsreels and on the covers of newspapers and magazines, we have been shown the fly-covered faces and bloated bodies of a thousand starving children.

The statistics on the number of children who are shot each hour, who are raped by relatives, who are homeless in our richest cities, who are exploited worldwide in factories and sweatshops, who are demeaned in "legitimate" ads and "adult" fare, and who are hit and abused by their own parents, read like a science fiction account of a planet gone mad. But this is our planet, and--it has indeed gone mad.

We write this book not to call for still more outrage and payback, but to call for the beginning of sanity within our own homes and with our own children.

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