During the past month, I was given the opportunity to read through a pre-release copy of Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. Dr. Turansky and Mrs. Miller are part of the National Center on Biblical Parenting. What I will say is Get Ready, Get Set, Go Get Your Highlighters…
Motivate Your Child is just one of those types of books. There are so many hidden gems throughout.
What was My Motivation in Reading it?
When our children were younger, our family always stressed different rules of the house. Pick up after yourself. Be Kind to others. If you turn it on, then turn it off when you are done. Don’t take things that don’t belong to you.
As our children grew, we started focusing more on family mantras such as Do the Next Right Thing and Finish Well. Some of our children are now reaching adulthood while others still have a ways to go. My husband and I desire for each of our children to be independent, contributing members of society. In order to thrive as adults, children must learn to be self-motivated and to use initiative in achieve things on the horizon. That initiative word is a big one! When I consider that word alone, I sometimes feel like we are still so far away from the mark. Fellow moms and dads, you know what I mean. All those times when our children’s response is “But you didn’t tell me” or “I didn’t know I was supposed to do that”. It can be a task that they have done a million times before or just something that seems so obvious that it should slap them in the face. Our response to theirs is almost a shriek of “How could you not know to do that?”
There is an old adage:
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink
Does this apply to our children. Dr. Turansky and Mrs. Miller would disagree. The difference lies in that horses do not have a conscience, while children do. When we choose to parent our children’s heart and not just their behavior, we begin to see lasting changes that come from character growth rather than just a fear of temporary punishments or consequences. Like many parents, we have overused punishment and consequences to get a short term fix to a situation in our home, but have not always reached our children’s heart. Let’s take a small glimpse into some of the basis for Motivate Your Child.
The conscience gives four promptings: do what’s right, deal with wrongs, be honest, and care about others.
If you are like me, this was revolutionary. Each of the things listed are things we have attempted to instill in our children, but I honestly have never seen them as all part of the conscience. Why does this matter? It is in looking at them together that it becomes apparent that many times our children are faced with dilemmas in balancing these different elements. This can require a certain way of addressing others and putting ourselves in their shoes. It also requires a maturing in what it really means to care about others while being honest.
I remember as a small child getting into wars with other children over who had the bravest daddy or the best mommy. The thought never crossed my mind that if my daddy was really the bravest, what did that say about another child’s daddy and what about the child that did not have a daddy at home? Some fathers are really brave while others may be exceptionally brilliant while brave is not their hallmark word. It takes growing in character and yes, our conscience, in realizing that not everyone has to be brave to be special and how we say things affect others sometimes more than what we are trying to say. This is the cornerstone to parenting your child’s heart. It is about learning about to approach different life situations with our children that we speak to their hearts and not just the circumstances as stand alone instances.
Motivate Your Child is broken into two parts. The first begins by exploring our character, personalities, and the importance of our conscience and how this translates into development of our integrity and initiative. The second half of the book takes our human nature and applies scripture and biblical principles to show how we can really touch our children’s hearts for Christ and shape them to be achieve His purpose for them on this earth. Exerting initiative is essential in being successful as an adult. Achieving this with a heart for Christ allows our children to be world changers as their lives become testimonies to all around them.
As I read through this book for the first time, I kept wanting to stop, but then also to not stop. It was too good to put down, but I feared that if I didn’t stop there was just too much good stuff that would be lost. Too many gems to collect and store in my own heart as I touched my child’s. I reconciled myself to the fact that this was not going to be a book I read just once. The first reading went quickly as I familiarized myself with the bigger concepts and saw them applied in the various scenarios and vignettes presented. I then went back with highlighter in hand to pick out solid truths and concrete things I could do a better job of putting into practice in our home. Yes, there will be times when this book sits on my nightstand for extended periods as I begin implementing each of these gems one at a time in my parenting of our children.
Before I close, please remember it is never too late. As long as you and your child still have breath, there is always today. Each little investment we make in their hearts has the potential to dramatically change their future. Keep the course and little by little we will start seeing more and more self-motivation, initiative, and character development in our children that will all be signs that they are ready to make that transition from childhood to adulthood.