Two years ago, my new years resolution as to read one book a month. It was a challenge. A great challenge for me, to put down my iPhone, close out Netflix and pick up a regular old book.
I love a good book. The feeling of it curled in my hands, the smell of its pages. I'm a nerd like that. 2013 was a great successful year, and I finished all twelve books and grew in knowledge and self discipline.
We welcomed Ewan in early spring of 2014, so I took a year off of A Book A Month and picked it back up again this year. My first book was Danny Silk's Loving Our Kids On Purpose.
A dear friend and wise mama told me about this book about 3 years ago. I had forgotten about it for the most part, but eventually came across the title again and decided to buy it and dive in.
I am so glad I did.
I was raised with spanks. Well, in our house, they were called 'paddles.' I survived them, and so did my husband. We thought nothing wrong with that, we turned out 'O.K.'! So when we had our daughter, we read the book, To Train Up A Child, by The Pearls. (I'm def. aware of the controversy surrounding them, and their ministry. Its OK. I got it.) We read through it many times, some crazy stuff we disregarded, but for the most part, it was what we stood by as a great way to train our very strong willed daughter. But this strong will daughter grew and grew, and the spanks were not enough. Full of all kinds of emotions and questions, we realized that the heart issue behind it was more of a pressing issue then just the daily battles needed to be won. Spanking was not enough.
When we had our son Killian, we were able to watch him grow and notice that his personality and Ruslana's personality could not be more different. He was so tender hearted and sensitive to our words and was a pleaser. He took heart upon correction and rarely needed spankings.
So we realized that there might be another way. And that way/method of parenting and training might benefit us and we looked into that recommended book, and read it through.
This month, I chose it as my January book. I felt like I needed a refresher on having a gracious heart and seek out our children's hearts not just jump straight to the punishment.
That is exactly what this book taps into. The deep understanding of knowing God's heart for me, and loving our kids how He loves me. Everyday, good/bad/ugly.
I feel like Danny Silk's years of experience in parenting/counseling fill each page with so much gentle wisdom, I could highlight the whole page. (I love that btw, rereading each page over a few times 'cause its so good. Every sentence is so incredibly good, and exactly what I needed to hear)
He addresses spankings, as 'one tool in our tool belt of parenting', but there's so much more to developing a wonderful heart connection to your kids.
"Is our goal as parents to coerce compliance from our children, or do we want something higher than that? By simply trying to get our kids to do what we want, we miss a golden opportunity-the opportunity to teach our children how to think for themselves, to problem solve , to make responsible choices both within and outside of our presence." (page 110)
I was missing that. I was more concerned that the kids did what I said cause I said it and no questions were to be asked. I'm the parent here. And because I just wanted the toys picked up, or the food to be eaten or kind words to come out of their mouths. I felt like I was losing. I wanted to know whats going on with them on the inside. Its bigger than the everyday small battles we face in our home.
Another cool thing in reading this book, I learned a ton about myself. OK, maybe 'cool' isn't the right word. It was often painful and hard to hear but I'm learning.
Why do I feel so disrespected? Why can't my kids just do what I say, when I say it? There was something off kilter, and it was my heart. I was missing a key element (other than the heart connection). I was missing the fact that I was not letting my kids own their problems. I was a fixer. Often times I was impatient watching the kids wipe down a counter, or wash dishes or make beds. I knew they wouldn't properly wipe up a glass of spilled milk, so i just took the rag away and finished it up myself. Lecturing them about 'how I can't believe they were messing around.' I would rather get upset, yell a 'how they could do this or that' and how it wasn't smart and we are both upset with each other. I knew there had to be a better way.
Learning from this book how to let each kid own their own problems. Asking tons of questions and letting them come up with a solution to each problem.
I know and have met plenty of adults who don't know/have never been taught how to own/solve their own problems. And when that doesn't happen, they put problems onto others around them. Which is totally unhealthy.
Danny used tons of personal life stories from counseling/teaching/parenting to make points that just made sense.
From the first time i read this last summer and in January, I have put what I have learned to the test. Our home is much more calm. The power struggle between me and the kids is much smaller and easier to work through. I feel like I know my kids hearts better. And that means so so much to me.
I'm so thankful I gave this book a chance and let go of my one sided 'spanks work forevs' mentality.
Choosing love in our home and patiently waiting and watching your kids learn is an incredible thing. Danny Ends his book with this bible verse from Eph. 5:1-2. It perfectly sums up the book and how we can reflect Gods love for us onto our kids.
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
Even if you don't agree with everything he says in the book, its just good. OK? Read it.
You can't walk away from the book having learned nothing. I think sometimes its just good to take a minute. Take a deep breath and evaluate. And this book helps me do that. If I am with these beauties all day long, everyday, I can easily get overwhelmed why things aren't going exactly how I think they should. I starting it all personally. I can't blame anyone else! But I think this book helped me find what I do want out of this time with my kids, and seeing them as really smart human beings that I want to love. And get the privilege of loving.
*I will be posting little reviews here shortly after I finish each book monthly. Check back over here and maybe you'll see a book that interests you and you can read it for yourself.
-A Book A Month In 2015-