I know there are strong opinions about the Duggar family on both sides of the aisle. I happen to be pro-Duggar (you are shocked right now aren't you). I like lots of things about them. I may not agree with them 100% on everything, but what I do know is that they are invested in their family. I think that is refreshing in today's world. The first half of the book is a lot about the trials they have had with their youngest daughter Josie and it was good, but if you have seen the show then you would know about it already although they do shed some light on things that happened behind the scenes which was interesting.
The second half of the book is what I loved. It is an amazing parenting manual mostly because it is derived straight from the Bible. It is just so good I took so many pages of notes and I wanted to share a few of the highlights with you.
On Overcoming Shyness
There is a chapter that contains the reasons to help your child overcome shyness. The big point of it is to be able to open doors to share your faith (pg. 98 of the book) also taken from Acts 20:35. They highlight Matthew 7:12 - treating others as you would want to be treated as a reason for overcoming shyness as well. They encourage you to teach your child to make eye contact and to practice introductions with your child - roll play. I personally think this is a good idea as I have shy children who sometimes refuse to speak to adults and I feel like it is very disrespectful especially if it is my pastor or his wife who are talking to them. This is something I need to work on with my kids. Also, with this they stress safety and never to go anywhere alone and never to talk to strangers without mom or dad present.
Developing a Servant's Heart (chapter 9)
They gave practical suggestions of what you can do to serve others even if you are young or if you are a mom with young kids. There were so many good ideas and ways to do this such as baking something and taking it to someone in need or to someone who needs encouragement. Writing notes or kids drawing pictures and mailing them. Visiting nursing homes or even going on a short term missions trip with your whole family. They also give ways to deal with criticism in a Godly manner (Matt. 5:11,44). A great quote from page 114:
"We can learn from critics, either because what they're saying is true - or because of the way we respond when it isn't."
Making Faith Fun (chapter 10)
Again, I found so much from this chapter and we have now been memorizing verses "Duggar-style". I will explain more about that in another post. They have so many helpful suggestions. I will have to refer you to the book on this one because there is too much to say on the subject.
The chapter on Homeschooling was good even if you don't homeschool it helps you to put your child's education into perspective.
One of my favorite chapters was on Vocations, Goals and Roles (chapter 12). They tell how Josh (their oldest son) got started doing what he does when he was young. This chapter will make you think outside the box for sure! I would recommend reading Young Bucks after you read this chapter. It will make your head spin in a good way! This chapter really helps you rethink how you are teaching your children to think about work and money. It is a great read!
I think I gleaned the most from chapter 13 - daily training and other things. The Duggar's explain how everything from potty training to helping in the kitchen can build a child's character. They also explain how they handle conflict resolution using Matthew 18. We have been trying this at home. We tell the child to go to their brother (or sister) first and then come to us if they will not respond. Usually when they come back to us and say their sibling won't listen we ask "how" they asked them and what their tone was. This is a great way to teach siblings conflict resolution. I cannot believe I hadn't thought of it before - it is in the Bible!
15 "If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that `every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. Matthew 18:15-16
They talk about working together until something is done. They also talk a lot about encouragement and praise!
One thing I always marveled at was how Michelle could talk so softly when she had all those kids - and this book answers that for you. Well, the Bible answers it for you really. She had 10 kids under 10 and read Proverbs 15:1 - a verse that I and my children memorized but apparently I was NOT putting it into practice. So, Michelle decided to actually use a soft voice (because it turns away wrath) when speaking to her children. I will tell you I am daily trying this. Instead of yelling at the children, for the second time, to put away their dirty clothes, I am taking a deep breath and calmly looking at them in their eyes and saying, "Mommy, told you to put this away. Now, how are we to obey?" And their response should be, "All the way, right away, with a happy heart" (from Don't Make Me Count To Three - another great read!).
Instead of getting angry, I find speaking softly calms me down even when they don't obey the first time or don't answer correctly. It is definitely changing my heart.
Some parting words for you, because I could write pages and pages about this book, Michelle encourages moms to "choose joy over exhaustion and weariness" because as moms we know it is too easy to give into exhaustion. Another great point, "consistency is key!". Immediately attend to an incident and be consistent. Communicate openly with your children with love. Make sure they know their heart is safe with you.
I think you get the idea that I would encourage every single person out there to read this book. I highly recommend it.