It Runs in the Family

sub-heading:
On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing Into Rebellious Motherhood
$18.00

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  • 206 pages
  • 7 black & white photographs
  • Paperback ISBN 9781939293657
  • E-book ISBN 9781939293664
  • Publication 22 January 2014

about the book

Parenting is hard. So is being a peacemaker in a violent world. It Runs in the Family is a book about how parents can create lasting and meaningful bulwarks between their kids and the violence endemic in our culture. It posits discipline without spanks or slaps or threats of violence, while considering how to raise thoughtful, compassionate, fearless young people committed to social and political change — without scaring, hectoring or scarring them with all the wrongs in the world.

Frida Berrigan is a mother and stepmother, wife and daughter. Her parents, Phil Berrigan and Elizabeth McAlister, were a former priest and nun who became nationwide icons for their prophetic witness against war and nuclear weapons, which sometimes resulted in long jail sentences. Berrigan grew up in the community they helped found, Jonah House in Baltimore, and becoming a parent herself has forced her to come to terms with her own upbringing in new ways.

Expanding on the stories in her popular column for the website Waging Nonviolence, Berrigan has crafted a welcome antidote to the various parenting fads currently on offer from French moms and tiger moms and mean moms. She offers a unique perspective on parenting that derives from hard work, deep reflection, and lots of trial and error.

"A moving chronicle of the things that make for love and peace, elegantly written by a woman who knows more than most about both. How to balance family, children, intimate partnership with urgent rescue of the gravely endangered planet? With wit, stark honesty, and deep compassion, Frida Berrigan suggests a simple answer, drawing on the bliss and grit of her own life as a mother - and as an activist. ...This book matters enormously." - James Carroll, author of Christ Actually: The Son of God in the Secular Age

"I love Frida Berrigan's voice--profound yet warm, gentle and fierce, deeply intelligent, authentic and charming. I wish this lovely, wise, and totally original book had been around when I was raising my child." - Anne Lamott, author of Help, Thanks, Wow: Three Essential Prayers and Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair

About The Author / Editor

Frida Berrigan serves on the board of The War Resisters League, a 90-year-old pacifist organization, and helped to found Witness Against Torture, a nonviolent direct action group focused on shutting down Guantánamo and ending torture. She long served as a researcher at the New America Foundation'’'s Arms and Security Initiative in New York City, writing and speaking on the topic of militarism. She lived at the New York Catholic Worker before moving to New London, CT with her husband Patrick Sheehan-Gaumer. Patrick is a social worker, second-generation peace activist and father to their 7-year-old daughter Rosena Jane. Their son Seamus Philip was born in July 2012 and Frida became a stay-at-home mom. Their daughter Madeline Vida was born in February 2014. While the baby naps or plays, she writes the "Little Insurrections" blog for Waging Nonviolence, tends a few plots at the community garden and helps keep a busy household on its toes.

Read An Excerpt

From IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY

Can you be fully committed to changing the world and change diapers at the same time? Can you be a nonviolent revolutionary and a present, loving role model for your children? Can you hold the macro—justice and peace and the big issues of the day-in one hand and the micro—boppies, wipes, third-grade science projects, and playground politics—in the other? My parents did not think so, and did not plan on having children.

Father Philip Berrigan, a Josephite priest, and Sister Elizabeth McAlister of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, both peace and civil rights activists, met at a funeral in 1966. Each of them was fully committed to revolution inside the church and throughout society. They fell in love, married, and were excommunicated. They faced long jail sentences and long court proceedings, and endured the harsh burn of the media spotlight. They formed Jonah House, a new community to support and nurture lives of resistance and prayer and to replace the religious orders that failed to evolve with them. They did not see kids as part of that picture, but then I came along. My brother Jerry followed a year later, and seven years after that our sister Kate was born. So much for natural family planning.

It was not what my parents expected or planned, but it was all we knew. And it was pretty strange and kind of messy. There were ten adults and half that many kids, all living together in a tall skinny row house with a tiny yard in the middle of Baltimore. Our food was bought in bulk or salvaged from dumpsters and always shared with hundreds of hungry neighbors. The mice, cockroaches, and moths loved our abundant, haphazardly stored provisions. The calendar was chock-full of meetings, demonstrations, and arrests. In the bitter cold, driving rain, stultifying heat (and, occasionally, on a gorgeous, balmy spring day) we picketed the White House, vigiled the Pentagon, harangued the Department of Energy (which oversees U.S. nuclear weapons), and protested the Capitol. We spent a lot of time in court houses too.

My mom and dad estimated that they spent eleven years of their twenty-nine-year marriage separated by prison. We celebrated birthdays, graduations, and other milestones in prison visiting rooms. A lot of our family communication happened through letters. But over the years, we built and maintained deep, loving relationships, even when separated by bars and chain-link fences, and across distances great and small.

in the media

It Runs in the Family

sub-heading:
On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing Into Rebellious Motherhood
$18.00

Add to Cart

Adding to cart… The item has been added

about the book

Parenting is hard. So is being a peacemaker in a violent world. It Runs in the Family is a book about how parents can create lasting and meaningful bulwarks between their kids and the violence endemic in our culture. It posits discipline without spanks or slaps or threats of violence, while considering how to raise thoughtful, compassionate, fearless young people committed to social and political change — without scaring, hectoring or scarring them with all the wrongs in the world.

Frida Berrigan is a mother and stepmother, wife and daughter. Her parents, Phil Berrigan and Elizabeth McAlister, were a former priest and nun who became nationwide icons for their prophetic witness against war and nuclear weapons, which sometimes resulted in long jail sentences. Berrigan grew up in the community they helped found, Jonah House in Baltimore, and becoming a parent herself has forced her to come to terms with her own upbringing in new ways.

Expanding on the stories in her popular column for the website Waging Nonviolence, Berrigan has crafted a welcome antidote to the various parenting fads currently on offer from French moms and tiger moms and mean moms. She offers a unique perspective on parenting that derives from hard work, deep reflection, and lots of trial and error.

"A moving chronicle of the things that make for love and peace, elegantly written by a woman who knows more than most about both. How to balance family, children, intimate partnership with urgent rescue of the gravely endangered planet? With wit, stark honesty, and deep compassion, Frida Berrigan suggests a simple answer, drawing on the bliss and grit of her own life as a mother - and as an activist. ...This book matters enormously." - James Carroll, author of Christ Actually: The Son of God in the Secular Age

"I love Frida Berrigan's voice--profound yet warm, gentle and fierce, deeply intelligent, authentic and charming. I wish this lovely, wise, and totally original book had been around when I was raising my child." - Anne Lamott, author of Help, Thanks, Wow: Three Essential Prayers and Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair

About The Author / Editor

Frida Berrigan serves on the board of The War Resisters League, a 90-year-old pacifist organization, and helped to found Witness Against Torture, a nonviolent direct action group focused on shutting down Guantánamo and ending torture. She long served as a researcher at the New America Foundation'’'s Arms and Security Initiative in New York City, writing and speaking on the topic of militarism. She lived at the New York Catholic Worker before moving to New London, CT with her husband Patrick Sheehan-Gaumer. Patrick is a social worker, second-generation peace activist and father to their 7-year-old daughter Rosena Jane. Their son Seamus Philip was born in July 2012 and Frida became a stay-at-home mom. Their daughter Madeline Vida was born in February 2014. While the baby naps or plays, she writes the "Little Insurrections" blog for Waging Nonviolence, tends a few plots at the community garden and helps keep a busy household on its toes.

Read An Excerpt

From IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY

Can you be fully committed to changing the world and change diapers at the same time? Can you be a nonviolent revolutionary and a present, loving role model for your children? Can you hold the macro—justice and peace and the big issues of the day-in one hand and the micro—boppies, wipes, third-grade science projects, and playground politics—in the other? My parents did not think so, and did not plan on having children.

Father Philip Berrigan, a Josephite priest, and Sister Elizabeth McAlister of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, both peace and civil rights activists, met at a funeral in 1966. Each of them was fully committed to revolution inside the church and throughout society. They fell in love, married, and were excommunicated. They faced long jail sentences and long court proceedings, and endured the harsh burn of the media spotlight. They formed Jonah House, a new community to support and nurture lives of resistance and prayer and to replace the religious orders that failed to evolve with them. They did not see kids as part of that picture, but then I came along. My brother Jerry followed a year later, and seven years after that our sister Kate was born. So much for natural family planning.

It was not what my parents expected or planned, but it was all we knew. And it was pretty strange and kind of messy. There were ten adults and half that many kids, all living together in a tall skinny row house with a tiny yard in the middle of Baltimore. Our food was bought in bulk or salvaged from dumpsters and always shared with hundreds of hungry neighbors. The mice, cockroaches, and moths loved our abundant, haphazardly stored provisions. The calendar was chock-full of meetings, demonstrations, and arrests. In the bitter cold, driving rain, stultifying heat (and, occasionally, on a gorgeous, balmy spring day) we picketed the White House, vigiled the Pentagon, harangued the Department of Energy (which oversees U.S. nuclear weapons), and protested the Capitol. We spent a lot of time in court houses too.

My mom and dad estimated that they spent eleven years of their twenty-nine-year marriage separated by prison. We celebrated birthdays, graduations, and other milestones in prison visiting rooms. A lot of our family communication happened through letters. But over the years, we built and maintained deep, loving relationships, even when separated by bars and chain-link fences, and across distances great and small.

in the media