“This Child of Faith” by Sophronia Scott & Tain Gregory
I had recently come across this book when I was researching another book called “The Spiritual Child” by Lisa Miller, Ph.D. It caught my eye because of the authors. Sophronia Scott is the mother of Tain Gregory, a young boy who was a student at Sandy Hook Elementary School when 26 students, teachers, and staff were killed during a mass school shooting. I discovered this book about a week after the Parkland shooting when the entire nation was trying to wrap their heads around what had transpired in a few minutes at a Florida high school. Released only two months before the shooting in Florida, the memoir of a mother and son could not have come at a more appropriate time. Scott, a mother, author, activist, and Episcopalian, asks the question: “How do you help a child have real faith in the world we live in today?” How do we do this? It’s the question that our Faith Formation leaders discuss quite frequently. In fact, at the beginning of January, the Youth Group explored big topics such as racism, bullying, mental illness, and gun violence. The teenagers had a lot to say. In fact, out of the entire year of Sunday evening youth group meetings, this was by far the most the teenagers had ever talked. Scary things happen every day that our children will see because they are so plugged in and even if they are not plugged in with a cell phone or tablet, their friends are. We live in a 24/7 news cycle and the what if’s quickly turn into the what’s already happened. So, how do we talk about these scary things with our children, no matter their age?
After the shooting in 2012, Tain was asked by a documentary director who was covering the children a year after the events, “What’s the most important thing in your life?” There is a pause and then Tain responds,“God.”
This is the story about a mother whose own spiritual journey was filled with ups and downs, disappointments, and detours until her son asks, “What is Sunday school and can I go?” She decides to follow his lead and in the process their entire family’s faith is transformed and then tested by tragedy. It was almost as if God was preparing them for what laid ahead.
I recommend this book to all caregivers, grandparents, and parents (even expecting ones like myself) who need a friend in this process of raising a child. Sophronia shares her growing pains of faith, the questions her son asks that she is not sure how to answer, the awkwardness of finding a spiritual home, the realness of faith when her son becomes her spiritual teacher, and the beauty of experiencing God together as a family even in the midst of death and tragedy.
~ Britney Knight