I’m not a terribly spiritual person. Even so, I wasn’t surprised by how much I enjoyed Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg’s latest book, “Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting.” I had loved Danya’s post on Kveller about radical amazement, and I knew from her Facebook posts that she was neither preachy nor pretentious.
Part memoir, part parenting guide, and part meditation on a life well-lived, “Nurture the Wow” draws on Danya’s experience as a parent, rabbi, and generally thoughtful individual. As the subtitle of her book suggests, Danya skillfully weaves fairly big ideas, such as spirituality and mindfulness, into the challenges parents face on a daily basis. Although I had always enjoyed our nightly routine (singing the Shema and a few other songs), somehow I had never quite thought of it as prayer or meditation, even though that’s exactly what it is. It’s such an obvious connection, but my tired brain just didn’t make the leap from “ bedtime singing” to a spiritual practice. Learning to see some of my daily parenting habits in this new light was just one reason I loved “Nurture the Wow.” Here are six more:
1. Although this book is relevant to any parent in search of meaning and joy in the mundane moments of raising children, it draws heavily from Danya’s Jewish background, wisdom, and practice. The ideas in this book helped me see much of my parenting in a Jewish context, even the moments that aren’t particular Jew-ish. Examples of this are woven throughout the book, but I would be reticent if I didn’t mention my favorite:
“One of the brachot [blessings] that tends to make folks giggle the first time they hear about it is meant to be recited after using the loo… yes! There’s a potty blessing! There’s a blessing for everything. We, as a people, are nothing if not thorough.”
The other five reasons why I loved this book are now up on Kveller.com.