For centuries, religion and science have regularly found themselves at odds in defining the essential truths of our world—a debate that, of course, continues today. So, we should take note when distinguished leaders in those two, often-conflicting domains find themselves arriving at the same conclusion about a fundamental question: how do we put more struggling young people on a path toward success?
This alliance is on full display in two recent books that explore the epidemic of childhood adversity as well as its solution. In The Deepest Well: Healing from the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a highly-respected pediatrician, explores the long-term impact of adversity and toxic stress on a child’s health and academic performance from a medical and public health perspective. Meanwhile, in Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship, Jesuit priest Father Greg Boyle marshals a personal and spiritual outlook to examine the lives of young people growing up in communities riven by poverty and violence.
From these divergent paths and perspectives, both authors arrive at the same destination: that positive, caring relationships play a crucial role in tempering and healing toxic stress and correcting the fractured trajectories of troubled youth.