Book Review: When More is Not Enough: How to Stop Giving Your Kids What They Want and Give Them What They Need


I was super excited when Amy Sullivan contacted me about my recent post Developing Generosity In Children or Fighting the Entitlement Attitude . A mutual friend of ours had pointed her to the post knowing that she was interested in the topic. Amy asked offered me a kindle copy of her book in exchange for a review. The book hoarder in me jumped at the opportunity.

Honestly, this book was very timely for me. I have been working not only to develop thankfulness and generosity in my son, but I am also trying to develop it in myself. The book offered a lot of good tips for this. I love that it didn’t focus on just financial generosity, but also dealt with being generous with time and talent as well. The author was very open and honest about her own family’s struggles in this area.

The book did read a bit like a very long blog post or maybe a blog post series. I actually enjoyed that choice by the author, but I do love reading blogs. It made the author seem more like a friend giving helpful advice as opposed to a detached expert. This makes me think that most of my mom friends would enjoy it. Though, I think fathers should read it as well. My husband is planning to start on it tomorrow. I think that it would also be good for teachers and those in ministry.

The only  issue I had with the whole book was in the chapter about forgiveness. While I absolutely agree that forgiveness is key to a fulfilled life, spiritual development, health, and having a generous spirit, my problem was with the story about the man that forgave the person responsible for sexually abusing him. I have no problem with him practicing that radical forgiveness. In fact, I think that it shows amazing personal development and faith which was of course the point of the story. I am all for forgiveness, but our faith has to be balanced with seeking justice for the victim and protecting future.The chapter over all was good; I just think it would have been nice to have that story prefaced with the encouragement to seek law enforcement and professional help in these situations.

That said, my favorite chapter, was on being generous with prayer. I actually broke down crying while reading it. This is one area that I really struggle with feeling anywhere near adequate. It was really encouraging to see the discussion of using the rosary to maintain focus during prayer. While I wasn’t raised in the Catholic tradition, and I have never used a rosary, I found the fact that other people needed help focusing during prayer very helpful. My favorite quote from the whole book though was, “If you are praying, you aren’t doing it wrong.” What a lovely thought! God just wants us to come into his presence, and this was a wonderful reminder of that.

I also found her personal story about her daughter’s illness during this time inspirational. There have been so many times when I was out of tears to cry or words to pray that our faith community has picked up the slack and prayed for us. That along with the groaning of the Holy Spirit were the only things that helped us through this situations. The whole chapter was an awesome reminder to do that for others!

Lastly, the resources throughout the book and also collected in the back were a wonderful addition. The only issue is that I now have another book list that I feel the need to work through. I have a lot of new charities that I want to check out as well to do work both with my family and with my students.

All in all this was an excellent book, and I would encourage all Christian parents, teachers, and youth workers to read it. It should be noted that Amy really does believe in generosity because all of the proceeds of the book go to support a women’s ministry in Asheville, NC. Here is the link to amazon so that you can buy it: When More is Not Enough.


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