I am excited to be able to review a new tool made available by the National Center for Biblical Parenting. The Family Toolbox is a resource for parents and teens, ages 10-18, encouraging conversation that leads to family discipleship.
The “toolbox” contains 8 lessons consisting of 16 videos and a workbook. There are eight videos for parents to view where a scene is portrayed followed by authors of the Toolbox, Dr. Scott Turansky and Mrs. Joanne Miller, discuss the life lesson being taught in the particular session. After viewing this, parents will then sit down with their teens and watch a longer clip of the same scene and then use discussion questions and prompts in the workbook. Each lesson has two “life success principles” that Dr. Turansky and Mrs. Miller explain in the video for parents. What I love most about this tool is how practical these principles are and how scripture is intertwined throughout to back up the principle being discussed.
Topics covered in the Family Toolbox are:
Lesson 1 ~ It Starts with the Heart
Lesson 2 ~ Follow Instructions Well
Lesson 3 ~ Handle Pressure without Losing Your Cool
Lesson 4 ~ The Value of Correction
Lesson 5 ~ The Importance of Responsibility
Lesson 6 ~ Accept No as an Answer
Lesson 7 ~ Deal with Your Own Anger
Lesson 8 ~ Consider the Needs of Others
As mentioned above, the advice and direction given by Dr. Turansky and Mrs. Miller in these lessons is practical with an intertwining of biblical principles that are so important and life changing. As I listened to them discuss the topics, I was both encouraged and convicted. My goal as a parent is to raise my children to love and serve Jesus; to raise them to honor Him in their lives every day. I was encouraged to discover that my husband and I do some of the things suggested in The Family Toolbox lessons.
Dr. Turansky and Mrs. Miller share with us that seeing our children change in effective ways comes from focusing on the heart. Mrs. Miller says, “The heart is where the lasting change will take place.” The concept of a “heart issue” is not new to me. When we found out we were to be parents, I began to read parenting books. I’ve been to parenting seminars that encourage dealing with the heart. Working on and dealing with heart issues are for all of life not just the toddler or teen or all those in between years.
The practical tips are things like making a chart of negative behavior, then thinking and praying through to address the heart issue that the behavior is a result of. They also suggest having an “action point”. This is when you stop talking and start acting as a parent. Involve your kids in setting new patterns and habits for the way you give them instructions and the way that they obey. Weave scripture into any discussion you have about behavior. God made us and our children; He has a lot to say about who we are, and should be, as His creation.
Another really practical piece of advice is to be sure to have some margin, i.e. extra time, in our schedule for unplanned things. If we are so rigid in our daily schedule, there is no room for the unexpected joys that might come our way. We might just miss them. Setting checkpoints in our daily routine to be sure that kids are staying on task is another great way to keep behavior and attitudes where they need to be. They help keep us to our “plan” and can have the positive benefit of building teamwork in the family.
The conviction I felt came around Lesson 3. After 15+ years of parenting, I am still learning to handle pressure and not losing control. I have a temper. It’s sin on my part and I know it. I am learning, with the grace of God, to not lose it when I do get upset. This is where perhaps the most practical advice from Dr. Turansky and Mrs. Miller really hit home for me. They said to expect problems, expect delays, and expect interruptions. Be ready for them and then our reaction is not emotional. AND our reaction is honoring to your children and to the Lord. These three things are just part of life, family life.
Correction was discussed in Lesson 4. There is value in correction. When we, as parents, have a plan for the way that we correct our children it really benefits the entire. Having a plan for how we correct shows unity between parents. It also give opportunity for the correction to be done right, teaching the kids in the process and then the child and the family are able to move forward. I really like that Dr. Turansky and Mrs. Miller encourage discussion with our kids when correction is taking place. They suggest three questions:
What did you do wrong? (this helps the kids take personal responsibility)
Why was that wrong? (this question deals with the heart)
What are you going to do different next time? (this helps our kids learn from experience)
These questions could also benefit us as parents and adults in our everyday lives as well.
Something that I think is very important in their discussion on correction is that once we, as parents, have discussed these questions with our kids, we should encourage them to go ahead and try again. This gives them encouragement and can teach them forgiveness.
Throughout all eight lessons, Dr. Turansky and Mrs. Miller emphasize how these principles are beneficial for a life time. Things like looking for and encouraging positive qualities in our kids that we can link to life goals, following directions, accepting no for an answer. All of these are skills that can be used in the workplace and in their own family when the children leave our homes for their own.
I am so grateful to have been able to review this product. For the purpose of this review, I watched this on my own, however, I hope to go through the “toolbox” as a family activity with my husband and kids very soon. I am sure that we will benefit from it.