Photo: Saulo Padilla, MCC U.S. immigration education coordinator (center), discusses a case study with Immigration Legal Training participants Elizabeth Castillo (left), Jane Curschmann and Alina Kilpatrick. […]
When Brenda Yoder’s oldest child was graduating from high school, while Yoder still had three younger children at home, she “felt lost and wondered if there were other Christian women who felt challenged in their faith” in this situation, she said in an interview in early February.
It was about this time, “when I was really struggling,” she said, that she began writing her blog, “Life Beyond the Picket Fence.” Several years later, Amy Gingerich of Herald Press contacted her. Besides her blog, Yoder had written for Dove’s Nest, which works with faith communities to keep children and youth safe, and had published articles in Purpose magazine and the book Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Gingerich suggested she write a book on parenting. Yoder said she didn’t know of any books that addressed the challenge of parents launching their kids into adulthood, so she suggested that as a topic. She then went through the usual book proposal process.
Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind (Herald Press), which is being published tomorrow (March 13), is the result. The book combines stories from Yoder’s experience with practical advice and scriptural reflections.
Yoder addresses a wide range of topics, from grief and struggle to setting boundaries and prayer and facing midlife. She writes from the experience of being in the sandwich generation, caring for parents as well as children.
While she writes from her experience as a wife and mother, she said that fathers can also learn from the book, especially from the chapters on setting boundaries and on family ties. “Men can also learn from what their wives are experiencing,” she said.
Yoder also draws on her experience as a counselor who has worked with people from diverse backgrounds. The principles she writes about apply to many situations. “Human development is similar across contexts,” she said.
Her clinical background has affected her perspective, she said. And while her target audience is people ages 38-54, she has learned a lot from listening to teens and young adults.
Yoder grew up in Shipshewana, Indiana. She and her husband, who is a farmer and a teacher, attend Emma Mennonite Church there. She said her grandparents came from Sicily, and her parents come from a more urban experience. She said her family of origin has also affected her outlook.
While she has written this book to encourage parents, she said, “at the end of the day, faith in God is the key. There’s no pat answer for every situation.” And everyone’s story is individual. “God is personal and knows what’s going on [with each person],” she said.
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