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Let me state at the outset that I've read ALL of Richard Bach's books, some more than once. I have a huge respect for the man, but in late years the quality of his writing and thinking have gone downhill.
This is a little book with just a one-sentence "thank you" prayer on every page. Scattered throughout are pictures of sad children. From a very high spiritual perspective you could say the book was dead-on right, but by the time you got to that very high spiritual perspective you would no longer care about thank you's and lessons of that nature since you would have healed them all.
I only got to the second prayer which was, "Thank you for discounting my pain so that I could learn to let it go" when I heard myself thinking, "That's sick." I stopped. I examined further. And I realized that life, especially when one is trying to cope with, understand, heal and love one's psychological/spiritual dynamic, just doesn't work that way.
Before you can let any pain go, you must first know you have it, then feel it, understand at least some of the family dynamics that put it in you in the first place, forgive those involved, forgive yourself for carrying it on long after you left home, and finally realize what it did for you in a positive sense so you can thank those involved and ONLY THEN can you let it go.
Most children (and I should know as I am one of them) who have had their pain, or feelings, or talents, or intelligence, or affections discounted by a parent do not grow up to learn that particular lesson from that particular situation. When you are discounted it means you do not matter, you are not worthy, not deserving, not important in any sense. When you are discounted a part of you is rubbed off the face of the Earth. You do not, Spock-like, think logically about it and "decide" you will use your mind to simply let it go. Psychologists call that "repression," among other possibilities. Essentially, you will internalize it and then go through life projecting it onto others until you get to a certain age, oh maybe 40, if you're lucky, and hear yourself telling someone that your husband or wife discounts your (fill in the blank). Bach seems to have missed the point that it is YOU who are continuing to abuse yourself in this way, it is YOU who are discounting your feelings, say, and this is being reflected back to you in the behavior of those around you. Stop discounting your feelings and watch others cease doing it to you. That's how it works.
I read most of the rest of the book. Here's one more: "Thank you for calling me freak, so I could know my differences are my gifts." The truth is that child is more likely to commit suicide or end up addicted or harming others before he or she will ever find the strength of heart and breadth of soul to realize their differences are their gifts. It breaks your heart -- and after 50 or so of these "prayers" you want to smash the book down as it appears to be trivializing what many childhoods are like, especially when you look at all the sad and pensive pictures of these innocents. Our world presently does not much notice the pain of children. I'm thinking of that line from the "Salesman" play, "Respect must be paid!" The suffering one endures as children MUST BE RECOGNIZED AND HONORED. It cannot just be rushed off the stage of one's life by a positive affirmation.
I think Bach had good intentions with this book, but he didn't put all the pieces together before he slapped all these prayers down on paper. Perhaps it would have worked had he taken a "If . . . gift" approach, such as, "If you were called a freak as a child, the gift from that is to know your differences are gifts." This would be a beginning, allowing the child or reader to ask themselves "how it could be so." He could have called the book, "Gifts of a Miserable Childhood."
Bach has always had a tendency to write a little too simple. Most of the time we've been able to fill in the blanks eventually. This time it doesn't work.