Gail and I met Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller in January of 2008. I've been a part of their team of trainers at The National Center for Biblical Development since 2010, so I can't say that I'm a neutral, unbiased observer of their work. I love it, and am committed to the same goals they have in their ministry. So when I got the chance to be part of their launch team for their new book, Motivate Your Child, I didn't take long to say yes. I'm honored to be part of this launch. I received an advance copy of the book from them free in exchange for an honest review, so here you go.
This is a big book! It's big in scope, and big in ideas, but even bigger in value. It's the single most helpful parenting book I've read. I chose that word 'helpful' carefully. It's not the funniest, and it's not the wittiest book, but it never set out to be. We've all read witty books that had no long lasting benefit. The opposite is true of this book--it's particularly designed to bring about long-lasting results. It contains nuggets of wisdom on virtually every page, and it breaks new ground for me, even though I've read lots of books on parenting. Motivate Your Child focuses on the heart of the child, not just behavior, and gives practical steps to help parents build the internal motivation essential to every child's success in life.
As part of my doctoral training in Early Childhood Education, I was exposed to the theories and research on moral development over the last 150 years. This book takes that 'textbook' information and puts it in a biblical, living perspective that is much more useful to parents than I had ever read. You will come away with not only a much greater understanding of how children think and believe, but also great tools to partner with your child's conscience and the Holy Spirit to help him or her grow in righteousness. After every chapter, I found myself saying "This is the best chapter yet." Turansky and Miller have an amazing ability to teach theology in a way that parents AND KIDS can understand and apply it.
Motivate Your Child is broken into two parts; the first ten chapters deal with moral development in children—how to develop the conscience to make good and moral decisions. The last eleven chapters deal with the development of faith within the discipleship lab of the family. The book reminds Christian parents to be concerned with both parts. We want our kids to be moral for success in this life, but even more, we want them to develop the faith that qualifies us for eternal life. There is no greater pursuit for parents than these two tasks, and this book will give you the understanding and skills to do both.
Motivate Your Child moves easily into my top ten parenting book list.