Book Review: “Raised by Our Childhood Voices” by Darrell Brown (@_darrellbrown)



Australian author Darrell Brown’s Raised by Our Childhood Voices: One father’s journey to raise confident, connected, compassionate boys is an excellent read. It has a voice like that of an old friend, who shares life’s numerous twists and turns and asks not for your judgement, but simply for you to understand.

Indeed, as Brown advises: “When someone hurts you, you have two ways to respond. The first is to get angry; the other is to simply get curious. The problem with getting angry is that it cuts off the opportunity for understanding. I find life’s richness comes from trying to understand why people do things they do rather than judge them for it.” (p.21) This is a brilliant tip, not only for parents trying to raise their children, but also for people at all ages who struggle to get along with their beloved family members and friends.

In Raised by Our Childhood Voices, Brown shares stories of his past in order to illustrate how we can listen to the voices of our distant childhood – both positive and negative ones – and learn to distinguish which to trust and which to ignore. “I really don’t think our role is to try to change people; rather, it’s to provide them with the opportunity to do so. Having the wisdom to know how to do this with love rather than judgement is, perhaps, our greatest challenge.” (p.25) The word “people” here may also refer to those different aspects of our own personality. Our task is to converse with our inner voices, not to distort or silence them.

And Brown’s is an absolutely sincere voice, very straightforward, with a great sense of humour. While all the details in Chapter Four about the IVF as a medical procedure may leave readers unsure whether they should laugh or cry, by the time they reach the chapter’s end they are left with a sense of awe and wonder. No, it is not those words describing how the birth of a child makes his/her parents the happiest people on Earth. It is this statement, this confident acknowledgement and acceptance of a man’s greatest responsibility to life in this world:

“As I walked through the doors, I remember thinking, the next time I see the outside world, I will be a dad. For many men, perhaps a daunting thought, but for some reason not me. I never for a moment doubted my ability to be a good father. Of course I knew there would be difficult times as well, but on the whole, I felt well prepared for the journey.” (p.33)

As a professional cinematographer and photographer (or “freelance cameraman” in his own words), Brown’s journey as a father may be the envy of many men who consider themselves horribly weighed down by the physical, emotional, psychological and financial burdens of supporting a family. However, Brown is no different from any father – or any parent in that matter – in any part of this world. He just loves his children and spends quality time with them. Instead of leaving his kids to be babysat by money and digital technology, he shows his love by being there with them.

“Loving and attentive dads push the boundaries of their boys’ safety. They lead them to the edge of danger, then share with them the wisdom, courage, and resources to handle things. And when life gets too much, Dad is waiting with strong open arms to provide a trusting place for them to return to – to gather their thoughts, soothe their emotions, release their tears, heal their scars, and gather their strength for the next stage of their life.” (p.68)

Many brilliant passages like this combine to form a graceful, funny, honest and reader-friendly book, but Brown also tackles tough issues such as values, relationships, respect and sex/uality, especially when children and teenagers – and even adults – are exposed to different forms of interpretation of these issues online. “As fathers, we need to lead the way in how we show up in our boys’ lives. If we don’t have a way of expressing ourselves, there will be no hope for our sons. Right now, our boys need us more than ever, and they watch us closely in order to work out how best to behave,” Brown asserts. “The more men begin to speak out about matters of the heart, the more we will normalise the experience and begin to turn things around in society.” (p.82) And speak out he does – his musings while working at some of the world’s most beautiful and sacred sites are absolutely inspiring and thought-provoking.

As a writer, reader and translator, while reading Raised by Our Childhood Voices, I am delighted by Brown’s emphasis on the Power of Words. According to Brown, the language we use everyday helps to keep our beliefs in place, which in turn “end up forming our entire identity to the point that, as an adult, our beliefs about ourselves walk into a room about two feet before we do” (p.90). By becoming aware of our language and training ourselves to make a difference in our choice of words, we can help to change beliefs and how people related to themselves and the others.

Indeed, part memoir, part parenting advice and part reflections on life, love and the land – Raised by Our Childhood Voices offers a rare insight into the inner worlds of a man, his humble soul that hungers and is grateful for a connection to the universal wisdom, his sensitive heart dedicated to seeking and documenting the beauty of our world, and his intelligent mind that is keen to empower and enrich the next generation and beyond with the valuable lessons he has gathered and continues to expand through lifelong learning. I would recommend this book to all readers who are passionate about learning the nature and significance of not only childhood but also fatherhood and manhood.

More information about Darrell Brown’s Raised by Our Childhood Voices: One father’s journey to raise confident, connected, compassionate boys can be found here.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: "Raised by Our Childhood Voices" relieves rave review in 2017 - Darrell BrownDarrell Brown

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