Since 2005, Daly has been president and CEO of Focus on the Family, the conservative Christian organization founded by child psychologist and Republican activist James Dobson. Daly’s childhood family sorely needed focus: the last of five children born to aging alcoholics, young Jimmy experienced his father’s abandonment, his stepfather’s rages, his mother’s death and several years with a gloriously insane foster family living next to their own personal garbage dump. He apparently avoided beatings and sexual abuse, though his chirpy coauthor rarely plumbs the depths of Daly’s probable anguish. Rather than looking inward, the young adolescent developed a pragmatic philosophy of survival: Keep your expectations low. That way you don’t get hurt. Somehow, despite homelessness and lack of income, he made it through college, studied overseas, married a good woman, climbed the career ladder and, sadly, still advises low expectations. I believe it’s time we were open with one another about the brokenness that we all share he writes, though his story reveals much more of his family’s brokenness than his own. Dobson fans-and they are legion-will find Daly’s rags-to-(spiritual)-riches story inspirational; others may wish he had dispensed with his coauthor and spoken directly from the heart.
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