Read Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting by Danya Ruttenberg Online


A deeply affecting, funny, insightful meditation that challenges readers to find the spiritual meaning of parenting. Every day, parents are bombarded by demands. The pressures of work and life are relentless; our children’s needs are often impossible to meet; and we rarely, if ever, allow ourselves the time and attention necessary to satisfy our own inner longings. ParenthA deeply affecting, funny, insightful meditation that challenges readers to find the spiritual meaning of parenting. Every day, parents are bombarded by demands. The pressures of work and life are relentless; our children’s needs are often impossible to meet; and we rarely, if ever, allow ourselves the time and attention necessary to satisfy our own inner longings. Parenthood is difficult, demanding, and draining. And yet, argues Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, if we can approach it from a different mindset, perhaps the work of parenting itself can offer the solace we seek.Rooted in Judaism but incorporating a wide-range of religious and literary traditions, Nurture the Wow asks, Can ancient ideas about relationships, drudgery, pain, devotion, and purpose help make the hard parts of a parent’s job easier and the magical stuff even more so? Ruttenberg shows how parenting can be considered a spiritual practice—and how seeing it that way can lead to transformation. This is a parenthood book, not a parenting book; it shows how the experiences we have as parents can change us for the better.Enlightening, uplifting, and laugh-out-loud funny, Nurture the Wow reveals how parenthood—in all its crazy-making, rage-inducing, awe and joy-filled moments—can actually be the path to living fully, authentically, and soulfully....

Title : Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting
Author :
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ISBN : 9781250064943
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting Reviews

  • Rebecca Einstein
    2019-03-07 01:47

    Oh, how I loved this book. It is the perfect blend of traditional texts, ancient wisdom, modern sensibilities, and real-life vignettes. It makes me wish that I'd had this by my side during those really tough early years when my kids were babies. But I'm so grateful to have it NOW because the middle years are no easier. Though there is less poop...

  • Elizabeth Andrew
    2019-03-22 20:42

    Just when I'd given up on books about spirituality and parenting, I found Danya Ruttenberg's NURTURE THE WOW--a book with an unfortunately kitchy title and excellent content. Ruttenberg is a rabbi steeped in the mystical branches of Judaism. When two boys arrive, interrupting her prayer practice with their bodily needs and rosy-cheeked smiles, she suddenly sees her religious tradition as formed and developed by those not caring for dependents--in other words, by men. "The idea that caring for children could be a core, crucial, even cornerstone aspect of one’s spiritual and religious life, that loving and caring for them should be integrated, somehow, into one’s spiritual and religious expression—well, it’s totally absent from [traditional Jewish law]. And this absence isn’t specific to Judaism. Rather, it’s the norm in a lot of corners of the religious world. "I wonder how various religions traditions might have formulated their approaches to prayer (and everything else) if they had been thinking about the realities of parenting small children from the beginning. And I wonder what these traditions could look like if the questions, challenges, and types of thinking that parenting opens up were taken seriously and brought into the conversation, even at this late date."Exactly what I wonder, daily. Ruttenberg leans on her rich, Kabbalistic tradition and draws from the wisdom of daily experience to begin this conversation. A few of her angles in? The practice of listening to and responding to a baby's needs as preparation for heeding God. The covanental relationship we have with our children, in which we have dominion over their world and we agree to be radically changed by their presence. Acts of love for our children NOT as practice for God but AS the experience of loving God. The desperate longing we feel for our children as an expression of our longing for the divine. This isn't dimestore spirituality; Ruttenberg is grappling with the heavyweight questions of embodiment, the formation and loss of self, and on-the-ground spiritual practice.My only criticism of this book is that it's based entirely on the early years of parenting. I want Ruttenberg to write part two in 15 years, when her boys are on their own (perhaps) and her spirit has endured the trials and formations of the teen years. We need both books; we need many more books like these, that bring the messy, demanding, embodied experiences of loving young humans to bear on our religious and spiritual wisdom traditions. Look for mine in another decade.

  • Phyllis
    2019-02-24 22:42

    Wonderful blend of ancient texts from all traditions, modern wisdom, and personal anecdotes. I laughed and cried -- it really is a book about being a parent, not about parenting-- there is a difference! Well done!!!!

  • Kathy Heare Watts
    2019-03-20 03:54

    Great book for new parents. Passed it on to a couple expecting their first child in June. They were very appreciative to receive the book. I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

  • Hilary Ryder
    2019-03-17 20:25

    I wanted to like this book. I think that there are important lessons to be taught about finding spirituality in everyday life. But the author's description of her poor parenting skills made me unable to get through this book. Her 3 year old who still doesn't sleep through the night. How she fixes a different dinner for each child so they will be happy. Like so many parents today, the author thinks it is her job to make her kids happy, rather than trying to raise self-reliant and resilient kids. She does not set expectations or provide boundaries on appropriate behavior for her kids... no wonder she is at her wits end. My experience raising my 4 kids, with expectations, responsibilities and discipline has been a very different one from hers, and far more pleasant.

  • Morgan Keating
    2019-02-20 20:35

    This book is a beautiful place to end a looooooong day of caring for children. I'd recommend reading the last chapter first!

  • Rachel
    2019-02-21 02:31

    I wish I'd had this book to read 10 years ago when I was a new parent! Danya Ruttenberg shares great wisdom in how to appreciate and find meaning in the mundane, muddy, and least "magical" aspects of parenting.

  • Lisa Bernstein
    2019-02-27 22:49

    I've read many books on Jewish spirituality, but this is by far the best. Ruttenberg takes ideas that Heschel makes grandiose and abstract and brings them to every day reality of a parent of young children. She comes from a Jewish perspective, and also brings in other traditions as well. Her stories are easy to relate to, and she references diverse writers and thinkers. I would love to hear her speak, even though my children are older. I would also love for her to write another version of this book when her kids become teenagers! (Also, don't skip the Afterword...I found it to be one of the best parts of the book!)

  • Holli Arnold
    2019-03-16 02:35

    The author emphasizes being in the present moment with your kids…seeing the world from their perspective…embracing them for who they are where they currently are…that there is beauty in even the mundane tasks of taking care of young kids. However, the author is very long-winded and she belabored her points…the book would’ve been better if it was a third of its length

  • Jackie Jacobsen-Côté
    2019-02-21 23:53

    The parenting book I really needed to read. Recommend for anyone looking for the deeper meaning in parent-child relationships. I feel like I've looked at my son (slightly) differently since finishing this book (in a good way).

  • Erin Rolfson
    2019-03-17 01:42

    From Raincoast Books for honest review:Every once in a while I come across a parenting book that makes me completely reexamine the way I mother. Mothers of the Village was the last one to do that. Danya Ruttenberg does it again. I love how in the description of this book it states that this is a parenthood book. It really is! Nurture the Wow doesn’t teach you how to parent, but rather how to be a more connected, more grounded, more fulfilled parent. I’m not Jewish, but I loved learning more about the ancient faith. This definitely isn’t a book just for Jewish people however, and Ruttenberg uses quotations from people from all walks of life, from all faiths, and from both historical and contemporary sources. She made a concerted effort to be as inclusive as possible, and acknowledges differing (or similar) experiences from adoptive parents, LGBT parents, and more. I loved that this book was intelligent and stimulating. This isn’t something you pick up and plow through. This is a book you really invest time into. And it’s worth it.One of my favourite subjects she writes about is changing our relationship with our children from an I-It relationship to an I-Thou relationship. In an I-It relationship we view the other half as merely a means to an end. The example she uses is of a waitress who brings us food. We don’t care about her life, we just want our pizza. “An I-Thou relationship, on the other hand, is one in which the other person is fully seen, and fully accepted – regarded as a whole being, full of hopes and dreams and selfhood, and, if this language makes sense to you, created in the divine image… in which we ask: Where are you? What are you going through?”Being reminded that the little turkeys in my house, despite being miniature sized, are full little people, was something I needed. Not to say I don’t think my kids are people… (I’m not a bad person, I swear!) Sometimes it’s just good to remember that beneath the screaming, crying, pooping, irrational, beautiful, amazing mess that kids can be, there is a little soul inside needing to be nurtured. That is what this book did. It gently reminded me to nurture the wow.See more reviews

  • Crystal
    2019-02-27 02:50

    "Giving love changes us and our children. Love is necessary as air. It's how we tap into one another, find each other; how we grow and flourish, magnificently, together. It's inconvenient and it's maddening and it's frustrating and it's sometimes painfully difficult to love another person, especially our own child. But this love is our spiritual practice. It is our work and our task down here this mortal coil. It is not only the oxygen that we offer to our children, it's what makes us able to breath, ourselves.""Being present with our kids is scary. Because it brings us face to face with our lives as they are now, rather than with the story we've been telling ourselves about them, or there reveries we construct about how great things might be in some alternate reality. It forces us to confront our own discomforts, sadness, anger and pain. It forces us to sit with the reality that if we choose to be with our kids, at least for a little bit, we have to let our to-do lists lie fallow for a few minutes and to let all our anxiety about that rise up and fade out. It's the only way that we're able to actually offer our children the attentive love they so desperately crave from us""We're never going to be able to control everything, or to understand suffering, if indeed there is even something to understand. All we can do is to wrap up our fear and anger and pain and breath it out as love for the children who have been entrusted to our care.""We literally have the power to decide how our children experience their own lives, to show them what is important and to create the filters which they regard the world. Is the person on the street corner scary? Someone to push past awkwardly? Someone we can and should help? How? With what tools? Our kids' understanding of what's reasonable and possibly comes entirely from us""We to carve out for ourselves pockets and corners of life without distraction, and regard our own self-care as a legitimate obligation"

  • Autumn (Writer of A Writer's Corner)
    2019-02-24 21:52

    Calling all mothers, soon to be mothers and ladies who want to become mothers!Nurture the Wow brings all the various sides of motherhood to life if all these tales of experience with children. The book engages the reader to find the true spiritual enlightenment with the nitty gritty of parenting. It brings to light all the precious moments and all the "ripping hair out by the seams" moments as well. Not only that, but this book really helps encourage parents and families to be to find the delight and the deep affection that each good and bad moment in parenthood is a blessing. A truly sweet book that really captures the reminder that everyone needs to remember; to live fully in the present--when the gift of a child is blessed into your life and even before having children. A truly great read for any parent, child or family to be (or anyone who wants kids).

  • Becca
    2019-02-20 20:27

    Hands down the best book on parenting that I have read thus far. Ruttenberg elegantly explores the idea of parenting as a spiritual discipline, reframing how we approach that task. She asks how we might draw nearer to God through the role of parenting, seeing it as a sacred role, while also recognizing how hard and mundane it can be some days. This is a book that I'll be returning to again and again in the coming years.

  • Katie
    2019-03-19 23:48

    I really loved this and found so many thoughts, nuggets, turns of phrases to save and refer back to. At times, the author gets a bit romantic about parenthood, which she acknowledges. Overall this is not a how-to book about parenting but instead a book about being a parent, and that being a parent can be so much more than the typical picture that is usually painted for us.

  • Erica
    2019-02-26 23:46

    If you believe yourself to be spiritual or seeking and have young children, this is a wonderful read. The author is Jewish, but references a variety of faiths. It hits home, is attainable and the author speaks from a real and even raw perspective. It's both enlightening and reassuring for a parent in the midst of the early years of their journey.

  • Tammy K
    2019-03-20 22:28

    This is not a typical parenting book in that it approaches parenting as a spiritual discipline in which to connect deeper with our Creator. Thoroughly enjoyed the author's insights and perspectives that comes from her own parenting experiences as well as her Jewish faith.

  • Cheryl
    2019-03-14 22:32

    This book is much more religious than I thought it would be. A female Jewish Rabbi tells how hard parenting is and how we need to find spirituality to get through it. I won this book on Goodreads

  • Rachel
    2019-03-15 03:28

    See my review at

  • Deborah Collyar
    2019-03-07 03:29

    I received a copy from a Goodreads Giveaway.The writing style was well done, but I found that I wasn't very interested in the topic. That was probably my fault.

  • Jonah
    2019-03-09 00:46

    Lots of interesting anecdotes and reflections, way too much use of second person instead of first person.

  • Barbara Woodford
    2019-03-13 23:34

    I really scanned the book but it covered thoughts, happenings, etc. that have not been covered in any other book that I have read. A really helpful book for new parents.

  • Candace
    2019-03-24 02:46

    A little slow and heavy, but loved it for its wisdom.

  • Amy
    2019-03-05 03:29

    This book is about how parenting opens one up to a deeper kind of spirituality. Whether by birth or not, it describes how ‘radical amazement’ has the capacity to change and deepen a person, and not just in terms of parenting, but how and who they become and relate to the greater world. Anyone who has become a parent, already knows something about this phenomena. About how radical amazement changes one’s life and experiencing. But Danya Ruttenber, Rabbi and mother of three young kids, manages to pout this phenomena into words, to describe a certain kind of spirituality gained and opened by the parenting experience – a closer connection to God, to compassion, to greater awareness and capacity to love. I read this authors first book – Surprised by God, and I remember liking it quite a bit. This is not the first book I have read about how parenting (from a Jewish or Spiritual perspective) can be a spiritual experience, or how spirituality or certain Jewish values can enhance the process. In fact, this is the fourth book that I have read on this vein, of five that I am aware of. The first, I read 15 years ago, when I was pregnant with my oldest. It is called Parenting as a Spiritual Journey; Transforming the Ordinary into the Extraordinary, by Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, who this author quotes in her book. The second, read about ten years ago, was the Blessing of a Skinned Knee, and five years ago, its growing companion, the Blessing of a B Minus, both by Wendy Mogull. The later companion book, was intended to talk about issues facing resilience in teens, and the struggles parents face raising teens. This was perfect timing for me, as my oldest was just about to enter middle school. This book, Nurturing the Wow, while I consider myself versed and invested in the practice of spiritual parenting, I feared its focus would be less relatable to my current life. I feared that having a child about to enter High School, one already in middle school, and my youngest six almost seven, that I would be somewhat aged out of a book centered on the experience of new parents with preschool aged children. But there were a few things I discovered in my journey of this book. The first is, that like the other three, you don’t need to be Jewish to appreciate what these books have to offer. You just have to be open to the experience of radical amazement. And like its predecessors, I liked that it offered perspectives not just from Judaism, but from a diversity of cultures, of collaborators, and perspectives, that made it relatable across the board, and a stand alone, outside of a particular faith. The author was well researched in her experience, but also in reaching across cultures and perspectives to see the universality in the truths she was expressing. The second part that stood out to me, is that I could relate the concept of radical amazement to what my current experience is about these days. Thinking of myself as aged out from the book, and from the folks who I will be discussing it with next Wednesday night, the book was a reminder that radical amazement is not just for preschoolers. With teens and pre-teens, and in my case also a very pre-teen, you have to try harder, feel deeper, challenge yourself more, because radical amazement isn’t as easily discernable. Its hidden and complicated, and underneath a lot of chafe. But its still our hugest key to the experience of parenting. I am what these young couples are becoming, and are heading towards. I am the challenge they will be facing soon enough. The most obvious example I have of current radical amazement to offer is this, is that my eldest son’s bar mitzvah occurred a year ago, from this upcoming Sunday. What an interesting time for such a huge event to occur. At 13, children are awkward, gaining sassiness and a huge amount of obnoxia and entitlement. Maturity is as capricious as a yo-yo. Along with their growth spurts, are all kinds of unforeseen crises of faith that this awkward gangly kid is indeed holy and will be of value in the world. On the other hand, these kids rise to the occasion, and show you just how holy they indeed are. I was blown away by the maturity and consciousness that my kid brought to the process. So deeply moved by seeing the holiness in him, and the beautiful man he was becoming. And seeing the light in his friends, not just on that day and night, but throughout the year. Nothing makes me light up with joy more than a Hora (a dynamic Jewish dance). And there is nothing more thrilling than doing this with your family for your child, surrounded by everyone you love, who loves him. The high I still feel from this experience is indescribable, and continues to blow me away. It is the current version of radical amazement. That you see you have shaped a unique person who brings light into the world, and whose presence makes a difference. Now other than extraordinary events, radical amazement also has to happen in the every day – amidst crises, challenges, what have you. The same lashes that take your breath away as a preschooler, are now demanding when is dinner ready, needs new cleats, feel you embarrass them by your very presence, refuse to do their homework, want you to drive them on pokey hunts, can’t make a bed to save their lives. They are challenges, and they can also at a moment’s notice be delightful again, when you wondered if those days were gone for good! Sometimes radical amazement happens in a simple thank you. Or when you’ve glimpsed something you weren’t supposed to. For me, it was the amount of joy I had, when my eldest was experiencing his very first version of a girlfriend. It can be delighting in reading Harry Potter together, or watching a moment between two brothers. I feel a constant mandate not to miss the moments that are happening with my six year old, and it feels near impossible sometimes, with the demands of the other two constantly taking higher priority. And yet the book, which brings me back to a longing for those days, also reminds me that were still there. And not just with my youngest, but what still lives in the other two. I think my older two love to hear me sing the same songs I sang to them, to my youngest. They still get to hear and enjoy songs and stories that they are to old for, but are holding inside the memories of and are sort of re-experiencing. The beautiful tension of that is radical amazement to me. Back to the book, I really did enjoy reading it, and felt it had something still for me too. I found myself talking with radical amazement with a patient or two, and what emerged for them, is the concept of how they immediately recognize that in their experience of their children, but lacked it in their own early lives. How unfortunately common it is, for an adult to wonder why their parent did not have the capacity to see them as amazing, or valuable. But as something to be controlled, passed off, to criticize, and be disappointed in. And how important it is to be mirrored by somebody who continues to be radically amazed by you. I thought about relationships of all types, and the importance of love, but of deep respect and deep value. To turn back to parenting, I have long thought that our task is to make our children feel special and valued, but also to be able to look at their flaws, tolerate them, and want to grow. In our attempts to help our children’s esteem, we run the risk of raising spoiled or entitled children. On the other hand, we have to be so careful about how we develop humility, lest we cut down potential or cause negative esteem. Its not easy, and we are making mistakes all the time. I know of very few books that address finding spirituality in the teen years, and by the time Danya Ruttenberg is writing that one, I will be looking for the books on the chapter after that. So we have to create our own path, write our own stories, and pray that radical amazement keeps us reflective and sustains us through this difficult passage. My six year old nestles between us in our bed somewhere in the middle of the night. By the time we wake, he is somehow there, with the dog and the blanket, and sometimes another mystery guest. Every morning he wakes us up with a smile and an I love you – what better way to start the day! By the days end, somehow I have nestled under the covers with one of the other two, watching tv, or reading together. Or just kind of hanging out. The sacred ordinary. Hearing about their interests. Listening to them talk, fight, play, dream. This is the lived experience of the book. Settling into the heart of the divine, opening oneself to love unimaginable. And having faith. In ourselves and in them. I like to think nurturing the wow is a lifelong process – and one I intend to keep deepening throughout my life. Books like this – they just remind us that were on the right track, and to stay with faith. Well done, Danya.