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SINS OF THE FAMILY: Becoming the Redemptive Generation
Beverly Hubble Tauke
SaltRiver/Tyndale
Family Relationships
ISBN: 0842386971

There are a lot of words on the cover of this book. "Overcoming the Sins of the Family." A subtitle: "Becoming the Redemptive Generation." Then, in case you didn't get it, there's also a descriptive line: "Eight destiny-changing practices to help you overcome a painful past and create a legacy of joy for the future." Once you're inside the book, sidebar lists ("Strategic Questions for Revised Family Roles"; "Destroyer Traits"; "Family Peacemaker Strategy"... ) leave no question but that this is a self-help book. If the family you have doesn't work, here's an explication of eight "transforming habits" by which you can improve your relationships through biblically supported principles of family therapy.

Author Beverly Hubble Tauke is a family counselor in Northern Virginia. One of her more interesting credentials is facilitating workshops for homeless adults at a gospel mission, where she sees some of the most destructive effects of --- to use a biblical phrase --- "the sins of the fathers" being repeated generation after generation.

Scripturally the book's foundational "transforming habit" --- "Explore and resolve wounds from family history" --- is rooted in a verse from Nehemiah: "They . . . confessed their sins and the wickedness of their fathers" (9:2). Tauke notes, "Nehemiah demonstrated how to take a 'moral inventory,' not just of personal life, but of family history, a challenge issued millennia before Alcoholics Anonymous and others discovered the power of this healing strategy."

Another critical chapter illustrates how to "minimize the family tyrant's power over you" by courageously and lovingly setting boundaries. And another --- "Seek one-on-one relationships with each member of your family" --- includes a great counseling-session anecdote that shows the value of communicating directly with individuals, not through intermediaries or by garnering support for one's own position against someone else.

Virtually all the anecdotes in SINS OF THE FAMILY illustrate troubled adult relationships, between spouses and among adult siblings and their parents. To complement contemporary family scenarios --- extensive enough to provide solutions as well as set up problems --- Tauke draws her therapeutic points out of life stories of historical and biblical figures including Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Katherine Graham, David son of Jesse, and Abigail wife of David.

The best part of the book is its appendix, which gives 15 anecdotal scenarios, each followed by three multiple choice solutions ("Which option would you choose?") and then Tauke's take on which solution is recommended. Case studies end with a "family-functioning issue to consider." A few too many of these "issues" are phrased in sociological jargon. Case in point: "The inevitable mind-relationship linkage assures that moody habits by either marital partner risk both partners and their marital cohesion, while squelching family warmth...."

Ultimately the book is about enjoying relational freedom --- not a freedom that comes by running away from home but a freedom that comes from finding the best of your "home." One chapter, "Activate a Family Freedom Formula," wraps up with a clearly stated recipe: "Clarity. Integrity. Courage. Resolve. A bit of sensitivity. That blend of ingredients brought [family members] home again. Home to the other's heart, made safe. Home to the other's mind, made open. Home to chosen, not imposed, roles.

"You and your family can take the same journey --- home again."

   --- Reviewed by Evelyn Bence

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