Taught by Children: A Review of Small Talk

As a married man with no children, I am probably not the primary intended audience for Amy Julia Becker’s Small Talk: Learning from My Children about What Matters Most. But I had read some of her writing on Christianity Today’s her.meneutics blog as well as her own blog, Thin Places, and I enjoyed her writing style, so I decided to pick this book up.

Small Talk is arranged chronologically, beginning when Becker and her husband Peter had two small children and she was pregnant with their third. It comes in three parts: Holding On, Letting Go, and Growing Up. Each part has several chapters with one-word titles like Christmas, Prayer, Sin, Happiness, Friendship, and Tragedy. In each chapter, Becker writes about her interactions with her children on these subjects, and what she learns from these interactions. For example, her oldest, Penny, has Down syndrome, and so in the “Disability” chapter she tries to help her middle child, William, understand what that means. In the process, she reflects on the importance of treating people as individuals rather than stuffing them into a category—we are unique in that we all have our own gifts, and we all have our own brokenness.

Even though, as I said above, I am probably not the main audience for this book, I greatly enjoyed it. While I do not play the same roles in my life as Becker does in hers, I too enjoy reflecting on and learning lessons from everyday experiences. Becker is a thoughtful parent who is not afraid to share her weaknesses and struggles, and sprinkles in just enough humor to lighten the mood from time to time. I recommend this book to everyone, especially mothers of young children.

Note: Thanks to Zondervan for a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.