A few of the exchanges with our editor were a bit tense! Instead of having a pro-large-family editor work through our book, we hired a father of one child. What came out of the conflict was revealing, and, we believe, a much better book. Let me explain…
Steve Isaac is editor of a website for media enthusiasts Plugged In, a father of one child, and a great friend.
Steve and I go back about 10 years. We worked together on the Plugged In redesign when I was Senior Online Editor at Focus on the Family. We had never judged one another for the number of children we had. He had one, I had umpteen, and we still enjoyed working together. I left Focus in 2004, but I contract Steve on projects like Love Another Child.
In one part of the book, I made a snap comment: “How many couples can claim their practice is a conviction, that God is calling them to avoid another child? We don’t know any.” Steve made the quick correction:
“Actually, you do. Heidi and I have worked through this issue at a pretty intricate spiritual level, and have come to believe that for us, God does want us to have one child. I’m not saying you should yank this line, but you might consider leaving it out for the sake of those who do believe strongly in how God designed them to function best in a more intimate (meaning small) family unit. By ending the graf with the question rather than the answer, you may actually come across as more provocative in this case.”
Whoops! I guess I assumed too much, and I made the necessary corrections to Wendy and my original thought. Just the kind of thing a good editor will catch.
When I asked Steve to edit the book, he and I admitted that there would be conflicting views. These conflicts turned out to help immensely. See, Wendy and I aren’t out to convince those who already agree with us that “loving another child” is a valid walk to walk. Why, then, would I want a yes-man as an editor?
We had an email exchange when wrapping up the book, an exchange that highlights our friendship. Here’s how it went:
Chris: Steve, could I ask you to look at Chapters 9 and 10 again? You gave me quite a bit to think through for Ch 9, especially. I cut-n-pasted and reworded based on some of your comments. I very much appreciate them, and glad we’re still friends. 😉
Steve: Still friends, indeed! I’m actually honored that you have valued my edits and perspective as much as you have through this process. I pray that the book is better for them, and that your message of loving another child is better received. I am actually the bigger beneficiary of all this, because I’ve been given a glimpse into your lives and into your souls. It was a fascinating journey. And I now know far more about you than you know about me! Guess I better write my own book.
Wendy and I feel like this book is as polished as it can possibly be. Subscribe to our blog posts; we’ll keep you “posted” on the publishing development. We can’t wait for you to read it. It will move you.
Steve’s closing remark in the process is a great testimony to this project: “Congrats on your book. I’m proud to have been a part of it. I hope it sells like crazy. There’s so much here that can help so many people.” But he went on and gave us a full-fledged endorsement. Here it is:
If you have a, shall we say, petite family like my wife and I do (one child and not really counting right now), you don’t have to work very hard or think very long about your family decisions. You certainly don’t have to try to persuade anybody else to follow your example. If you’re at 15-going-on-16 children like the Jeubs, though, you are truly doing something that’s worth sharing, worth trying to convince others that it’s a joy to love another child. Chris and Wendy not only deserve the platform they’ve been given (through this book, online and on TV), they make great use of it, facing down the giants of fear, apathy and cultural coercion to shape their family the way God called them to shape it—in a word, LARGE! —Steven Isaac, Colorado Springs, CO