I had the opportunity to read and review Motivate Your Child by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller. It came on the heels of hearing them speak at a homeschool convention as the founders of the National Center for Biblical Parenting. This book meant to be a guide for parents who are looking to develop the moral and spiritual foundations of their children. In effect, the book targets the heart of the parent in training them how to reach the heart of their child. It will challenge, encourage, equip, and empower you as a parent to love your child and lead them toward a lifetime of better decision making.
The book is divided into two sections- the Moral Development and the Spiritual Development. I must admit I do not fully understand or agree with the separation for a couple reasons. First, the entire book points you back to scripture. Whether it is the chapter on honor, work ethic, honesty, or compassion- everything points back to the scriptural foundation of the idea so there shouldn't be a need to separate moral from spiritual. Secondly, there is nothing in life that is not in the 'spiritual' realm. While the chapters on leading a child to Christ and the importance of family bible study time are helpful in the development of a child; separating that from the morals section seems unnatural. For it is the spiritual foundation that leads to the refining of morality and character.
That being said, this is a wonderful book about reaching the heart of your child and helping them develop into the person God created them to be. The chapters are filled with ideas on how to approach 'needs' a child may have and suggestions on how to train a child to change behavior. Most importantly the book backs the desired outcomes with scripture and points to how to transition the development from one of behavior modification to a heart change.
Here are some of my favorite tips from the book:
-I loved the explanation of the conscience and how to develop it as children travel through the three levels of thinking. Our conscience is part of our internal GPS God has wired us with to travel through life. Utilizing it to point it back towards answering the question 'what would God want me to do?' is the goal of internal motivation.
-The checklist on pages 43-45 were helpful in shining the light not only on areas that need work in my children's lives, but also their strengths as people. It was encouraging to see both sides.
-I loved the idea of an action point: making sure my intentions and follow through with consequences are clear, quick, and expected.
-The chapter on the integrity package is a MUST READ. I am in love with the ideas of how to teach honor to my children.
-Keeping the goal in mind. Parenting is long term. While the days are long and arduous- we may not always see progress as quickly as we want too. Fruit may take years to develop. However, making decisions in the rough, sticky days with the filter of how they fit into the long term goal is crucial.
-This book would encourage the confident parent and equip the lost. It truly is for every parent at every level in any stage of life.
This book is a must read/have for parents who desire to lead their children into faithful lives. It teaches the parent to impact the heart of the child and build their character- not just mindless obedience who lose their faith when they leave the safety of the nest.
*Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review