We have a frequent saying in our home: “Do what you have to do before you do what you want to do.” We say it frequently because our children frequently forget. Our boys are 16, 12, and 10, and we’re struggling lately with teaching them responsibility, among other traits. It was because of these particular and specific struggles than when I saw the opportunity to receive the Action Plan book in return for a review, I volunteered as quickly as possible!
The Action Plan book is based on the book titled 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. That’s quite a subtitle, but it really spoke to my heart and my mind and the Lord pulled on me to read this book! I read the original book, but you don’t have to read the original in order to read, use, and implement the Action Plan. It stands on its own.
The publishing company that produces these books is called The National Center for Biblical Parenting. After reading this book, I will be persuing more materials from this company because I trust their views on raising kids. Of course, there are always small things where a person could nitpick a difference, but this is the closest I’ve ever come to a company that lines up with the parenting journey where the Lord has led me. I’m blessed to be a part of this launch and am happy to have found the NCBP!
The Action Plan book itself does read like a book. I was a little annoyed at first, because the first several chapters only discuss what the parent needs to do, needs to change, and needs to mature before working with their kids. Now, I didn’t have any squabbles with what they were saying to do, not one little bit! I agree whole-heartedly with the steps they outline and it’s fantastic to see it put down on paper in this format. I knew right away that I’d be using this book to help mentor other parents that I know could use (and are seeking) the help. No, my issue with it was simply that most of it wasn’t new information to me. I was concerned that the book wasn’t going to go far enough into the real issue of our particular situation.
I needn’t have been concerned. This book does give a fantastic, simple 3-step plan to work with your kids. After you’ve examined your heart and made sure you are in the right place – something I advocate, because you can’t give something you don’t have – your kids can hear you better and you know how to respond when they don’t. It’s a process and this book provides some excellent tools to get you there.
The parent focus includes the following steps:
- FIRMNESS – while the book veers away, purposefully, from a punishment-and-reward system, they do advocate being firm and discipline (without suggestion) when appropriate
- VISIONING – any goal setting process requires that you know where you’re headed
- TEACHING – yelling and discipline are out of place unless the child understands what is expected, and why this is the right way to do things
- PRAYER – of course we pray for our children, but this gives some specific suggestions on how and what to pray as well as more prayer tools that we personally found effective
- COACHING – encouraging our kids to not give up, but far removed and very opposite from some of the “be your kids’ friend” teaching promoted in some circles
- MOTIVATING – the real meat of the whole plan, near the end of the book, but this is where the “how-to” comes in to play
Some of the best things I took away from the book included the suggestion to pray with my kids. I’m all about relationship – at church, in the community, and yes even family – but praying individually with each of my kids is not something I’m in the habit of doing. I pray for them (almost constantly), and we pray together as a family, but I’d not really thought about praying with them and especially not as a way to foster relationship. I’ve only been doing this for a few days now but have already seen changes in my kids.
I got a lot out of the coaching chapter as well. In the chapter, there is a dad who steps in to help a mother and child relate better to one another. I’m very blessed to have a fantastic husband who is also a fantastic father, and he has a hand and a part in everything we do. This chapter helped me recognize that, first of all, I need a mediator in the relationship between myself and one of my children; and, secondly, that my husband is the perfect mediator for that relationship. That’s such a godly idea, and I’m so glad the suggestion was there to be found!
The most beneficial portion to me, though, was the very end of the book that finally contained the plan to help me help my kids. The “three c’s” are the Action Plan itself, and I know that in practice – and with time – they will do us much good. I still have a few things to work on myself, tidbits from the parent section that I recognized in my own habits that sometimes get lazy. But the book recognizes that it’s a process for both the kids and the parents, and that we are to grow together. What an honor to take my kids by the hand as we both grow closer to Christ in character and righteousness!
The Action Plan itself costs $29.95 (normally $39.95) while the Motivate Your Child paperback runs $15.29. You can also get Motivate Your Child in eBook format for $29.95 or a packaged deal with both the MYC book and the Action Plan for $36.99.