“Oh Lord prepare me, To be a sanctuary.
Pure and holy. Tried and True.
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
Sanctuary for You.”
This is currently one of the girls’ favorite songs. We sing it often. At home. In the car. In the grocery store. You name it, we’ve probably sung there. If the girls ask, we try to sing it because, well, isn’t this the goal we have for them? To be the Lord’s. To do His will. To be who He has designed them to be.
I have been thinking a lot about these ideas lately. In part because of the book I have been reading – Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told, written by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN., founders of the National Center for Biblical Parenting.
The lyrics of this song wrap up a lot of the ideas from the book in a nice pretty phrase. But getting there? Well, it is quite messy.
The hashtag that has gone alongside this book and the National Center for Biblical Parenting’s materials is #heartparenting. That gets right to the core of this book – how do we parent our children so that their hearts are changed, not just their behaviors and choices?
I have been trying to decide the best way to talk about the book and encourage you to pick up a copy. I started reading the book on the Kindle app. Convenient but I quickly realized that I this was not the best way for me to read, absorb, and remember the helpful, applicable information that is jamb-packed into Motivate Your Child. I couldn’t wait for my paper copy to get here. I have now read through it two times and I’ll be going through it again. I am also going to ask At Homes Dad to read it, too. As I read, I had two highlighters in my hand – yellow for good information that I wanted to remember, quotes that are solid and helpful, or definitions; and blue for pages that had specific, immediately useable actions. Just about every page has multiple markings. There is THAT MUCH good info in here.
Already, I have been trying to put some things into practice. These include:
- Tightening my “action point.” Page 28 reminds me that “it’s not wrong to share opinions or ideas with your kids, but you want your instructions to sound different.” I am not sure my instructions sound all that different so I am working on that. The book gives some specific helps for tightening my action point.
- Ending discipline time well. I tend to leave the end of any discipline talk with a point. But, having read through the chapter titled “When Kids Make Mistakes,” I am not sure that my point is the right one. I am working on using the three questions presented here to work through discipline with a purpose that ends on “I believe in you. I love you. We have talked about what to do. Now, go try again.”
- Identifying which of the four promptings of the conscience we need to work on. It is different for each girl. At Home Dad and I will need to work together to identify and craft the plans, because training the conscience is something I have not ever thought about working on intentionally.
These were all from the first part of the book: Moral Development in Children. Part 2 of the book focuses on Spiritual Development in Children and helping children get to where they use level 3 thinking. Level 3 thinking means “considering how faith applies to life, how to respond well to conscience promptings, and ways to listen to the Holy Spirit in daily life.” (p. 137)
While the Spiritual Development section is very good, it was not life-changing for our family. The authors encourage parents to be intentional about your child’s spiritual training and passing your faith on to your children by having a weekly Family Time that is designed to increase a child’s faith and understanding. This is a great idea and there are many who need this encouragement. Using Deuteronomy 6:6-9 as a model for instruction, families are encouraged to be the main spiritual teachers.
“When parents give up the job and allow the church to do it instead, children miss out on the most important dimension of passing on the faith to the next generation: seeing that faith is relevant in daily life. Passing on the faith is more than imparting biblical knowledge or explaining theology. It’s living it out.” (page 142)
This means that you need to know what you believe before you try to teach it to your kids. Knowing what you believe, why you believe it, and what God’s word says about it means you are prepared to answer questions your children may have. One problem I had with this book was that it seems to disregard baptism as a part of God’s salvation plan, though God’s word is clear that baptism is necessary. I know what God’s word says and I can address that with my children when the questions arise. If you take the time to read through this section critically, you will be able to recognize and address these issues.
I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of Motivate Your Child by Turansky and Miller. There is so much value in the information shared between its two covers. It will strengthen you and your family. If you are diligent, your children will gain the motivation to listen to their conscience and live the life God desires.