So, I decided to check out their book from the library. 20 and Counting is an easy read and I finished it in just a couple days. The effects are a bit more lingering.
The book spends quite a bit of time talking about their personal backgrounds and many of the business and career involvements they have pursued over the years. I found those areas mildly interesting. They have some unique stories and experiences to tell, but I really soaked up the rest of the pages that overflowed from their hearts.
You might find encouragement from different passages and stories, as we each have our own challenges and questions, but I wanted to share some of what stood out to me:
- Keep God in the everyday. Michelle talks about bringing God's marvelous creation of our bodies very simply into a potty training time. I have that heart, but I know my parenting is not that intentional about weaving Scriptural principles into the nitty-gritty of life as much as I would like.
- Control your own anger. She gave a simple tip that I confess to having used at least a few times already this week. She referenced the verse, Proverbs 15:1 where it mentions that a soft answer turns away wrath. I have often thought of this in my interactions with others in terms of diffusing their anger. Michelle put a whole new twist on it. When she feels her own anger well up, she lowers her own voice. And, her emotions settle as well. Incredibly simple, but I cannot tell you how well this has worked in our house this week. Too often I set the thermostat for our interactions.
- Blanket time. I tweaked her description of this, which she tweaked from her source as well. And, to be fair, my kids are 5 and 4, not the toddlers that she had at the time. Sometimes my school room gets a little noisy while I try to work through Algebra or sentence diagramming, or some other intense school subject. Usually, I would loudly tell everyone to quiet down, or find something for the little ones to do, or turn on an educational computer game. Well, instead, we now do blanket time. And, as silly as it sounds, my little ones beg for it now.
They each get their blanket, spread it out, and choose one book and one toy. The rules are no talking and no leaving the blanket. For about a half hour I expect them to entertain themselves quietly while I teach the older kids in an environment much more conducive to learning. Another simple, but life saving method. :-)
- Love and joy in the home. What so many people love about the Duggars is their obvious love for one another, and the peaceful home they have as a result. It isn't perfect, and I love that their book is transparent about those rough spots as well. But, grounded on Scripture and a relationship with Jesus Christ, they clearly take the call to train up the next generation seriously while recognizing the great blessing that children bring to the home. If we model it, they will generally follow.
Parenting is a continual journey, and I continually search out those who I see doing things right so I can continue to learn and grow as a Christian, wife, and mother. Learning from those that are at least a few steps ahead, even if our paths look a little different, definitely works for me.