I have recently done several reviews on Brene Brown’s books – you can search this blog for reviews on The Gift of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, and Braving the Wildnerness. Before the end of the year here I’ll add one more since I just finished her short audio book called The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting.
This is short, but from a life and value standpoint, it might even by my favorite of her books because we’re deep into the parenting life stage of life, on the verge of having teenagers. Ten years ago I made a commitment to reading a marriage and parenting book each year. Now, I’m ramping that up to 3-4 books each year on marriage and parenting because there’s no point in saving that learning until after our kids are out of the house.
This book provides short summaries of Brown’s work on shame and vulnerability, but there are just tons of nuggets that are awesome and life-giving for parenting and they often are directly backed up by research as well. More importantly for me, most insights I believe reflect Biblical truths about leadership and parenting based on grace and truth. The book is full of insights and principles that parents just need constant reminders so this is a book probably worth doing an annual review of because it’s that practical and helpful. It helps illuminate poor thinking patterns based on the surrounding culture and re-set for the sake of healthy and empowering relationships.
Some of the key sections relate to perfectionism and shame in parenting, over-functioning and control in parenting, struggle and hope, creativity and play, gratitude and joy, boundaries, and a variety of other things.
Beyond just being a general parenting book, the powerful piece still is the connection between shame and parenting which I believe also extends to leadership. Shame can be a factor in hindering play, increasing perfectionism and image management, and levels of control and comparison among others. This is important and reinforces one of her initial principles – who we are is more important than what we do. That idea is really tough for a lot of folks, but it’s critical!
We have to deal with our own hearts. This is another reason why the question of where we get our worthiness from is crucial. People seek worthiness in all sorts of things – but I believe worthiness is ultimately only found unconditionally through a God who offers unconditional forgiveness in grace and truth. We need to be transformed first before we can be agents of transformation for others. If we have unresolved shame, that will translate to our efforts in shaping and molding those entrusted to us.
Here is a great specific summary of the audiobook that outlines principle by principle what Brown covers. This gives a real concrete picture of what is in the recording and the content.