By MAUREEN VINCENT
The Psychology of Family Religion by Eve Lewis (Sheed and Ward 32s. 6d.)
HOW WELL do parents really understand the needs of their own children!? Besieged on every side by conflicting, and often irreconcilable, exhortation, advice and criticism in regard to the upbringing of our children, there can be few parents today who do not sometimes feel bewildered and discouraged, if not downright hopeless, in the face of what seems an impossible task.
Christian parents are fortunate indeed in that they have a concrete goal—to bring their families up to the knowledge. love and service of their Creator. But how may we best achieve this aim of Christian parenthood?
Most of us are at least aware of the existence of modern! theories of child psychology. But our understanding of them is likely to be vague, if not positively erroneous. Moreover, many of us are rather doubtful about the relevance of psychological teaching to the Christian idea of 'parenthood, It is in this context that one welcomes this book.
Mrs. Lewis is herself an analyst who has practised in a children's clinic for many years; this is her second book about children. and religion from a psychological viewpoint.
She begins by describing the main psychological types of personality, discussing the interaction between the personalities of husband and wife in the dialogue of matrimony. She lays emphasis on the need for parents to achieve a fully mature relationship before they can give their children the emotional security essential for their successful psychologic,a1 development. The child's image of his ,parents will determine his ultimate image of God—a more awesome definition of parentaf responsibility has surely never been formulated.
But Mrs. Lewis does not set out to unnerve. Her book is friendly, cheerful, often reassuring and, above all, helpful. Very few parents will read it through without feeling that it has given them a better understanding of their children— and, maybe even. more importantly, of themselves.
The writing never becomes over technical; the lavish use of illustrative anecdote, taken from literature and from the author's own clinical experience, helps to make reading the book the enjoyable and rewarding business that it is. Concrete advice on when and how to introduce religious instruction and suggestions for further reading are welcome.
I would most strongly recommend this book to all parents and teachers, and only wish that it had been published fifteen years ago—in time to stop me from falling into some maternal errors!