By KEN WHITT
Author of God Is Just Love
More than a year ago I learned that Lydia Wylie-Kellermann would be publishing a book in 2021 on the theme of parenting and justice. For many years, beginning in 1973, I led many intergenerational religious education groups.
At that time, my indispensable resource on teaching justice themes to families was Parenting for Peace and Justice, by Kathleen and James McGinnis, which is now out of print. Of course, the world has changed, becoming much more unjust, less peaceful and far more perilous in my view.
I am now the father of four and the grandfather of thirteen. My passion for the well-being of children, now and in the future, has risen to the top of my priority list. When I heard about Lydia’s plans, I was about to publish my own book (God Is Just Love: Building Spiritual Resilience and Sustainable Communities for the Sake of Our Children and Creation). My attention was turning rapidly towards spending the rest of my life working directly with children and families seeking to live abundant, just and loving lives, no matter what was happening around them.
I hoped to find new allies in the most important work I would ever do.
I could not have been more pleased to discover Lydia’s new book, The Sandbox Revolution, Raising Kids for a Just World. I am tearfully grateful to learn more about Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, and her many partner and parent writers. In them, I recognize friends on this journey.
So, that is what I needed to say, from a most personal point of view.
Then, I also want you to read Lydia’s book, so here are a few additional insights.
When you get the book and read it. Read every word. Digest the words. Live the words. For me, this was especially critical when I got to chapter 13 and chapter 14.
In chapter 13 we hear from Lydia’s father—pastor, author and prophet Bill Wylie-Kellermann. He writes about what I will call “the community imperative.” You cannot know just love and be just love—in a very broken world getting more fragile every day—outside of community.
Back in the times when Lydia and I were being raised, this was true for the Wylie-Kellermann family and just as true for the Whitt family. The community imperative is one of the three vital messages of my book also: 1. Spiritual resilience, 2. Beloved Community and 3. Adaptation. Yes, I’m urging you to read both of our books. I think Lydia’s book addresses a broader range of sub-topics from the point of view of more writers. My book invites you deeper into the current predicaments and their intersections and the future that must be shaped by Just Love.
In these times, as we are walking with our children and grandchildren, the community imperative may well mean the difference between fear and love, despair and hope, violent assaults and peaceful partnerships.
When I reached chapter 14, I found even more valuable lessons. I already knew that the beloved communities of the future must adapt many of the ways of indigenous peoples. But now I would be specifically instructed by a parent who, herself, was learning to pass on her tribal traditions to children.
It is way past time to begin putting children, the creation and the future first and foremost in the priorities and decisions of our lives.
You can find a way to afford the price of a book. You cannot afford to miss this wisdom.
Care to read more?
GET THE BOOK. The Sandbox Revolution is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle, plus Barnes & Noble sells the book in paperback and the Nook format.
If you preview the book at either online retailer’s website, you can look at the entire Table of Contents, which includes chapters such as:
- What Makes a Family? Infertility, Masculinity and the Fecundity of Grace
- Money: Nurturing a Family Culture of Generosity and Justice
- Education: Learning at the Speed of Trust
- Where to Live: Putting Down Roots and Being Known
- Spirituality: Entrusting Our Children to the Path
- Moving beyond Normativity: Family as a Haven for Authenticity, Self-Expression and Equity
- Raising Antiracist White Kids: Some Rules Need to Be Broken
- Resisting Patriarchy: Messy, Beautiful Independence
- Ableism: Opening Doors and Finding Transformation
- Honoring Earth: Healing for the Carceral Mind and Climate Crisis with Joyful Interconnectedness
- The Power of Story: Subversive Lessons from Grandmother Oak
- Building Community: Choosing Life in the Certainty of Death
- Risk and Resistance: The Cost and Gifts to Our Children
- How Do I Heal the Future? Reclaiming Traditional Ways for the Sake of Our Children
You can learn more about the diverse contributing writers in this section of the book’s website.
Then, if you wish to contact Lydia about this book, here’s the part of the book’s website where you can send a message by U.S. mail, email or via a message through that website.
PLUS! A DISCUSSION GUIDE—AND—CHILDREN’S BOOKS! Lydia also has developed a discussion guide, packed with ideas for conversation and activities as you read each chapter either individually or with friends. AND she recommends some great children’s books that could accompany various sections of her book. You’ll find those free resources on the book’s website.
LEARN MORE ABOUT LYDIA’S COMMUNITY OF WRITERS. In addition to editing and contributing to this new book, Lydia is the editor of the quarterly magazine called: geez—contemplative cultural resistance, where you can enjoy her work along with many other writers and teachers, including many of the folks who contributed to the new book. If you want to know much more about the ongoing life of this magazine community, stop by the Blog area of the geez website. You’ll find lots of helpful news there.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE REMARKABLE WYLIE-KELLERMANN FAMILY. Get a copy of Bill Wylie-Kellermann’s memoir Dying Well: The Resurrected Life of Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann. Jeanie was an internationally known journalist, editor, filmmaker and peace activist—and was Lydia’s mother. If you are interested in learning more about faith-based ways of approaching family milestones, including the death of a loved one, then you will want a copy of this book, too.
GET KEN WHITT’s BOOK. Finally, Ken urges readers to consider his book and Lydia’s new book as companions in this important niche of inspirational challenges for multi-generational experiences of faith and justice. Ken’s book is God Is Just Love: Building Spiritual Resilience and Sustainable Communities for the Sake of Our Children and Creation.