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Intersection of Life and Faith

Author Mines His Past for Spiritual Parenting Insights

  • Mary Rettig and Jenni Parker AgapePress
  • 2004 8 Aug
  • COMMENTS
Author Mines His Past for Spiritual Parenting Insights

A new book talks about the significance of fathers in a child's spiritual life. "Reversing Thrust:  A Backward Step Into Manhood" (Xulon Press, 2004), written by Carl Hershey, is an autobiographical look at the author's relationship with his father, who raised him as a single parent after the death of his mother.

Hershey says his flawed earthly father taught him things about God that were not true to the loving nature of his heavenly Father. "I always believed in God, or I wanted to," he says. However, the author notes that he also had a sense of God in which, "he was always too busy for me, or I was just never quite good enough to measure up to his standards."

In retrospect, Hershey realized his image of God had become distorted. "As I worked through my relationship with my father," he says, "I began to understand how I had projected my understanding of my father onto my heavenly father."

The author says he had to relearn things and change his previously formed perceptions in order to gain a better relationship with both his earthly and his heavenly father.

Still, for years he struggled to find value in his single parent's eyes, and now he hopes his book will help parents recognize the importance of affirming their children as people of worth. It is important, he points out, "to acknowledge and affirm them as a child, to give them some place of belonging."

According to Hershey, the main point of "Reversing Thrust" is the need for parents to develop their children's spiritual life. One of the ways a parent can do this, he explains, is by affirming their sense of connectedness to the parent. It is essential, he says, "to acknowledge your child as a son or a daughter, to build up that aspect of a child's life also."

Hershey was born into a Mennonite community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and grew up on a family farm, where he learned about the interrelationships of family, faith, and daily living. "Reversing Thrust" recounts his journey backwards, years later at age 32, in a search through the past that yields healing, perspective, closure and spiritual renewal.


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