Monday, February 1, 2016

Strong and Kind by Korie Robertson with Chrys Howard (book review)

How many parents are just overloaded with parenting books these days? I've been reading parenting book since before my children were born. Some have been excellent and some have been bad. "Strong and Kind" by Korie Robertson with Chrys Howard is excellent.

image via BookLook
Many parenting books have contradictory teaching methods. "Strong and Kind" does not even have a teaching method. It's basically a book telling us what we know: our kids need character! And we need to teach them (which means we really need to model it for them)! One of my favorite parts of the book is toward the end when Korie and Willie (who chimes in on every chapter of the book) discuss how differently they were raised. Willie's family life was more rough and fend for yourself while Korie's upbringing was more pampered. However, the things their parents had in common (loving God and one another) is really all we need to succeed in this parenting gig we have been blessed with.

I have a grand desire to be in heaven one day with my children. I believe that journey there starts in my home (obviously, that's where God put these kiddos). I need to teach them about God and who He is and how much He loves them number one. But I also need to teach my children how to live life here on earth. And on earth we need citizens to be of good character. Korie goes through several character traits very valued by people: strong, kind, self-controlled, honest, compassionate, patient, joyful, loyal, and humble. There are others but this is just a starting point. She recommends picking two to start with.

For my family, I've decided to start with two for the boys and one for the baby (hard to teach an infant things like honesty and patience). For Moose I picked self-controlled and patient. He gets frustrated so easily and cannot seem to calm himself down easily. I will admit I'm not the best role model for him in this but I'm determined to control my own self in order to help him (and me). For Squirt I picked joyful and humble. He's very emotional and that emotion tends toward the grumpy side of life. I want him to learn the act of gratitude in order to be more joyful. He also thinks he needs to be the best at everything, but I really would rather him esteem others above himself and appreciate their talents. For Princess I chose kindness, mostly because I want to teach her early how much it hurts when she pulls my hair. Ha!

"Strong and Kind" doesn't really give you much on implementation, to be honest. I love to-do lists so I wish there was more direction but it's hard when family dynamics are so different. Korie couldn't write a book like that to help everyone; someone would always be left out. So it's up to me to do it. However, she did give us guidelines. We must set goals. I am a firm believer in goals; I rarely accomplish much without setting goals first. We must "decide what you want to achieve, decide why it matters, and decide how to make it happen." The character traits are my "what," the "why" is pretty obvious - who wants to some day employ or marry an unself-controlled, impatient, grumpy, arrogant, unkind person? No one!! A person like that does not show any Fruit of the Spirit either so that's very important to me and my family. And now Big A and I just have to decide on the "how." Mostly this will be through Bible stories and Scripture, maybe some behavior charts and rewards systems (or consequence systems), and a lot of talking. I do also plan to make some social stories for Moose; they help him figure out appropriate actions.

This book was really great. I just think the Robertsons seem to have their heads on straight when it comes to parenting. Of course, I have no idea because I don't know them personally but they aren't afraid to stand up for their faith in Jesus Christ and that is the best parenting advice I can offer someone. I really liked how the book was laid out and explained the traits but also was simple in telling the parents you can't just preach it, you have to live it.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest opinion. All opinions are my own and may differ from others' opinions.

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