The sub-title to The Wisdom House is “Because you don’t always have to learn the hard way.” In the book I imagine my five grandchildren coming into my study one at a time, not as the little ones they are now, but as the adults they will become. We get the chance to talk as we sit in the two armchairs in front of the fire.
Perhaps these conversations take place when somebody had broken their hearts, or when they are going for their first job or buying their first home. Maybe they happen after they have been betrayed by friends or when they need help to piece back together a dream somebody had trodden over. Our talks are based on some lessons I have learned personally, but most are lessons I have heard from those far wiser than me.
It is true that we live in a consumer society, but I believe that in our hearts we crave something more than quick-fix answers. What we really long for is wisdom that will help us not just to get through life, but to thrive in it. Wisdom is not based on IQ, wealth or apparent success. In fact, unusually in modern society, it is something that is truly available to everyone. All you need is some time to listen and a little humility.
Out of the fifteen books I have written, The Wisdom House is the only book that I really enjoyed writing. I am so grateful for the privilege of writing, but I do find it hard work. With speaking there is still a lot of preparation involved, but it comes more easily to me. So if I had to choose between writing and speaking, it would be speaking.
The original idea for the Sixty Minute… books was that they could be read in an hour. But I think the essence of that series is that the books are not only short, but down-to-earth, and although they contain elements of my faith they are accessible to everyone – those of all faiths or none. People sometimes say to me, “When I read your books you don’t teach me one thing I didn’t know already, but you turn lights on for me.” I know that critique wouldn’t be enough for Stephen Hawking, but I’ll settle for it.
Many so-called ‘prodigals’ had never turned their back on God but on something else. This is what I found through talking to people at the Bringing Home The Prodigals events across the world. I began to think about what that something might be, and it led to my writing Getting Your Kids Through Church Without Them Ending Up Hating God. I believe in the local church – I attend my local church almost every Sunday – but I think there are lessons we can learn that will make it harder for our young people to walk away and, if they do, make it easier to return. The response to the book has been very positive and we also have a course for use in church homegroups.
I can’t wait to write the next book in The Wisdom House series – in fact, I have already started!