Do You Need to Sell to Your Kids?

The problem with selling is that we have all been exposed to that slick, “used car”, high pressure salesperson who seems unaware of the difference between the truth and a lie. The idea of trying to “sell” our kids on something we want them to do also seems counterintuitive – shouldn’t they just obey without questioning?

When your kids are little, there is some amount of control a parent has over their kids. Children often think their parents are perfect when they are tiny. As they get older and exposed to the ideas of others though, some begin to wonder if their parents are so smart after all. Surely, the teacher with the advanced degrees, the celebrity who seems perfect or the non-profit “hero” are smarter than their parents.

If you have a child that balks at everything you say or ask of them, you may be able to learn some lessons from the best of salespeople. Because a really great salesperson understands that convincing someone to do something is more about trust and relationship than it is price or frills.

So I was interested when offered the chance to review the republished Zig Ziglar classic, Secrets of Closing the Sale. Would the master salesperson have hints that could help struggling parents? As it turns out, he really may be able to give you some great tips.

Although the book itself suggests its techniques can help parents and others besides salespeople, you will have to do some “translating” of sorts to make the connection to what a salesperson would do and what you can adapt and use as a parent. Although his tips are classic, I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of the way the book is arranged. It’s rather old school in that every tip is labeled a “close” when in reality not all of them are actually true closes. To me that slows down the book. They added two chapters by Kevin Harrington to update it, but they should have re-edited it more.

In spite of the fact that the editing makes the book feel a bit dated, the actual information is as helpful as it was the first time I read it in my first sales job. I have always appreciated that Ziglar spent so much time focusing on integrity and character – something many salespeople believe would make them unsuccessful. In reality, being honest and trustworthy and truly caring about your clients are what makes a salesperson successful.

Parents who are struggling should pay special attention to the sections about communication. Ziglar cuts to the heart of the communication problems that make it difficult to convince someone to do something they may not initially want to do. Not everything may apply to parenting, but it’s surprising how much does.

If you are in sales, of course this book is a classic. If you are trying to parent a child who seems to not want to be parented, you may just pick up some very helpful tips.

A copy of this book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.

Kinda Dangerous Family Devotions

One of the most important things you can do as Christian parents is to have regular family time in scripture. There are a lot of ways to do that, but probably the most popular is the family devotional. Unfortunately, many families avoid having family devotionals because the parents are unsure of what they should actually do during the devotional time with their kids.

We are always on the look out for new devotional books your family might find helpful. Recently, we were sent The Very Best Hands-On Kinda Dangerous Family Devotions by Tim Shoemaker to review. The concept is great – 52 family devotions that get families into scripture, but also have fun out of the box activities that go with them.

The set up of the book is parent friendly. At the beginning of each devotion there is a section outlining the materials you will need. There is also an area clearly marked that tells you what you need to do before you call your family in for the devotion – a must for those of us who skim or don’t like to read directions and then things don’t work well. The rest is standard devotion material – an activity and a discussion of the scriptures the activity was designed to help your children better understand.

The theology is pretty basic, although I would say this book is not for a family of very young children – I would say preschool and definitely elementary children would benefit the most, although some of the devotions teens would enjoy, too.

Fair warning though. There is a fatal flaw in this book for some families. Many of the materials required for the devotionals are not necessarily things you will have around your house – especially if you are not a DIY type of family. Having to purchase some of the needed items would make a few of the devotions a little pricey – especially if you will never use those items again.

The devotions also take a bit of prep time. Not outrageous amounts of time, but most of these devotions can’t be pulled off with no advance preparation. Honestly, I like that the devotions are that out of the norm and force parents to think and prepare before actually teaching their kids. I wish the author had encouraged parents to do some Bible preparation in addition to setting up the activity – it never hurts to drive parents back to the Bible more, too.

This is a great family devotion book if you like hands-on, family activities and don’t mind finding random objects and spending time preparing them. It could be the book you need to get your family doing regular family devotions.

This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.

The Intimate Connection

One of the biggest secrets of Christian parenting is that the quality of your marriage has a major impact on your kids. Not just now, but for the rest of their lives. They will choose whom they date often in reaction to what they see in your marriage. They will many times copy the ways you relate to each other as they relate to others. Even their sense of security and other fundamental areas are impacted by your marriage.

That’s why it’s so important we don’t just let our marriages slide. If someone tells you they have a great marriage and it hasn’t taken any work, I can almost promise you their spouse is miserable. Healthy marriages take intentional effort on the parts of both spouses. Unfortunately, most couples settle for being casual roommates rather than working for the true intimacy God intended for marriage.

The new book The Intimate Connection: Secrets to a Lifelong Romance by Dr. Kevin Leman tries to help you have that intimate relationship God wants for your marriage – and your kids need your marriage to have. It’s important to note that intimacy actually has less to do with sex and more to do with communication and other relational issues. This book also doesn’t deal as much with the Hallmark Channel type of romance as one would think either.

Leman calls each area he believes needs effort to achieve real intimacy a “secret”. The book covers thirteen of them – from how to better understand your spouse to how to talk so he or she will listen and more. Interestingly, sex is really the focus of only one of those chapters.

I like the organization of the material and the practicality of the author’s suggestions. Most marriages I have seen could at least use a tune-up in many of the “secrets” – not because of problems, but because people get so busy it’s easy to let something that isn’t perceived as an issue to just slide.

And that’s actually the main point of the book – people need to stop just coasting through their marriages. They can have amazing marriages if they will stop settling for an okay one just because it is easier.

I really only have two issues with the book. The first are the couple of chapters dealing with personality. While the main points he gives are valid, I’m just not a huge fan of the personality types he chose to use. Everyone has their favorite personality assessment and tends to identify with it more. I think the author would have been better served to come up with his own categories, names and descriptions that are a little more practical and less formulaic.

I also wonder why this book was published by a publisher as a “Christian” book. The only mention of God or faith or anything close to it was a brief “oh by the way” type paragraph towards the end. If this is truly a Christian book, then the author needs to step up and show the incredibly important role faith plays in a marriage. Otherwise, this is a secular book and will lack the most helpful ingredient to a marriage – having God as the center of it.

While this is a good marriage book with plenty of helpful suggestions, at the end of day it won’t be as useful as one that takes the time to help couples put God at the center of their marriage while they do some of these other things.

A copy of this book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.

Relational Reset

Relational Reset - Parenting Like HannahAt it’s heart, a family is about relationships. When you have people of varying ages, personalities and tastes living under the same roof, disagreements and conflict are going to happen at some point. Unfortunately, some families let those disagreements grow and lead to permanent ruptures in the fabric of what was once their family.

The new book Relational Reset by Dr. Laurel Shaler attempts to help readers get to the root of their relationship issues and make the changes necessary to heal broken bonds.

I love the way the book is organized. Shaler has a chapter on each of the twelve areas she believes cause breakdowns in our relationships. She covers everything from insecurity to dismissing blame and more. Reading through the book, her list seems pretty thorough. There may be other things that can cause issues, but most seem to fall within her major categories.

Continue reading Relational Reset

The Next Right Thing

The Next Right Thing - Parenting Like HannahYou’ve probably heard the expression “Just do the next right thing”. Sounds logical, but is it really godly advice? When your kids are faced with a decision is this the best godly advice to give them?

The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman attempts to give readers a “simple soulful practice for making decisions”. Although that is a bit misleading, for the book is actually filled with quite a few different tools to use when faced with decisions.

Each chapter explains a technique the reader can use – twenty-four in all. The chapters are short and easy to read. The author sprinkles her life experiences throughout each, explaining how that particular tool proved helpful to her in a situation when she faced a difficult decision.

Continue reading The Next Right Thing