Early in the book, Grizzle points out something that is so amazingly clear that I sat there for quite a bit wondering how I had never thought of it before. We all know that relationships with romantic partners take effort and even work to keep alive and healthy. So why do we expect our relationships with family members to be any different? Grizzle then navigates the reader on a course of learning how to create better relationships with our families of origin and eventually with our families that we create.
As Grizzle takes the reader through this difficult journey of creating better relationships with often dysfunctional families of origin, she utilizes vivid imagery to help make her points all the more vivid.
“So tell me about your family.” This relatively benign question, when asked in a serious conversation, yields a gamut of gut reactions…. a few people groan (inwardly or outwardly) as they realize that you have hit a land mine. As in the children’s game of Battleship, you have just hit their carrier, which is quite unsteady, and if you probe further it may sink (117).
One of the most important premises of Going Home Grown Up is that we cannot change others: We can only change ourselves. Yet despite that seemingly oppressive limitation, Grizzle helps the readers to make very significant changes in their lives which have the potential to create change in the relationships they have with their families. At the same time, Grizzle is also very realistic that sometimes the reactions from family members will be the opposite of what the reader wants. She recognizes that it all can go wrong and it all can blow up in the reader’s face. In those situations, she helps prepare the reader for the worst while hoping for the best.
The book almost becomes a workbook, peppered with questions that Grizzle encourages the reader to think or journal about. Actually doing so allows the reader to stop and absorb the lessons that Grizzle shares while simultaneously applying the information to one’s own life. While the reader may have many “aha!” moments reading the text, other insights will come from working through the challenges that Grizzle lays out for her readers in text boxes scattered throughout the book.
While the book becomes a tad too religious for my taste at several points, the vast majority is such that it is acceptable to anyone of any faith or lack thereof. Going Home Grown Up helps readers accept their families rather than holding them up to unobtainable standards. Grizzle encourages her readers to take vital steps to “grow up” in their own eyes and the eyes of their families so that future family encounters can take a different tone. Even if one cannot create change in one’s family, one can create change within one’s self that will allow greater peace with the lot we have been dealt through our families.
(The file below is a list of questions that can be used for book or discussion groups or for personal journaling.)
©2016 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC