GUEST BLOG: “Grace-Based Living” by Crystal Lutton – Commentary by Cara Potapshyn Meyers
Over the past ten years of reading insurmountable books, articles and magazines on Parenting, I have finally come upon one single book that literally wraps up every excellent parenting nugget of advice concisely into one special book: “Grace-Based Living,” by Crystal Lutton. Crystal graciously provided her incentive in writing this new book as our featured Guest Blogger:
“I wrote my first book, “Biblical Parenting,” a decade ago and have been working with families ever since. In that time, I realized two things. First, many people told me that the book helped their marriage even more than their parenting. Second, there were many things I found better ways to explain and over time the explanations became more fleshed out. I wanted the opportunity to bring these two issues to the forefront. “Grace-Based Living” starts with the foundation of the family – the husband-wife relationship and how to have a healthy foundation. Then it moves into the parenting aspect of the family and I hope that it gives encouragement and support for approaching all family members with grace and gentleness.
I work with a lot of families who are trying to heal their family relationships after trying this or that method, or following this or that teaching, only to have it crush their child. What worked with the first 3 children is destroying the 4th. Many families also are just plain uncomfortable with what they have been told they have to do with their children but they are afraid to follow the intuition that God gave them to raise the children God entrusted to them. I hope that this book will be a means of healing and encouragement for more families to follow the Lord’s lead and meet the needs of their child – the unique person that God created them to be.”
I asked if Crystal would provide some examples of the parenting techniques she describes in her book. Here is what Crystal had to say:
Have you ever found yourself saying, “I wish he would listen when I speak,” or asking, “Why doesn’t she just do what I say?” Young children learn to communicate early on, but it’s our job to foster their communication as they grow. We can’t expect them to understand or do what we haven’t yet taught them. Since communication is vital in any relationship, here are 5 ways to improve communication with your child.
You need to teach them everything: Young children don’t know what to do. They are still learning. This means you need to expect to teach them. If your child needs to respond a certain way, tell them, “You need to say…” and give them the script. If they need to behave a certain way, tell them, “You need to do …” Children want to be social and need your help.
Teach them what TO do – Instead of what not to do: Use your words wisely and tell your child what to do. This will set them up for success. If you tell your child to stop running, they have an infinite number of possibilities to choose from for what to do. If you really want your child to walk, instead of run, tell them to walk. And if need be, show them what that means.
Young children cannot think in the alternative: This means that if you tell your child, “Don’t [fill in the blank],” they hear, “Do [that thing].” It works the same with adults, but we’ve learned that we’re supposed to stop and do the opposite. For example, don’t think of a pink elephant. Now, what are you thinking about? And now you are telling yourself to stop thinking of it. Little ones have not yet developed the ability to stop their thought and reverse it.
Make your words have meaning: While you are establishing your authority with your child, say it while you make it happen. If your child is jumping on the couch and you tell them to keep their feet on the ground, or couches are for bottoms, move your child so their feet are standing on the floor, or their bottom is sitting on the couch. If your child tries to jump on the couch 100 times, just state your rule and move them. Eventually they will learn the rule, and the more you make your words have meaning, the quicker they will begin to respond as they develop self-control.
Have realistic expectations: Knowing the rule doesn’t mean that the child has the self-control or maturity to consistently follow the rule. Since you’re the parent, it’s your job to continue to set your child up for success, offer scripts and clear instructions, tell them what TO do, and make your words have meaning until they get it.
All of these things work to create a stronger relationship and your child will trust you to have their best interests at heart. It is worth all of the effort when you see your child growing up and becoming more mature, thanks to the confidence they have knowing that you are always there for them.
The above are just some of the valuable pieces of parenting advice from Crystal’s book. I needed to know more. What I found most intriguing and unusual about her book, was that Crystal referred to the Torah – The Hebrew Bible or “Old Testament” – as well as Hebrew words and Jewish customs, with terrific accuracy. Due to the fact that “Grace Based Living” is targeted primarily to Christian readers, I asked what motivated her to first gain knowledge in Judaism and secondly what motivated her to include this information in her book. Here is her reply:
“As a graduate from Fuller Theological Seminary with a Masters in Theology; I find comfort and value in understanding that God is one. The personality we find described in the Old and New Testament are not diametrically opposed, as one with a more Western mindset may think.
The more research that I have done into the Bible and theology, I’ve found that the writings in the New Testament attempt to express Hebraic ideas to people who have a more western Greek-influenced mindset. When I wish to better understand the Old Testament, I go to the sources who had access to it for thousands of years. I began to intentionally study Scripture from a Hebraic perspective over a decade ago, and I have been amazed at how alive the Bible has come when studying it this way. Everything fits perfectly like folding your hands together.
The principles in this book, while reflecting a Judeo-Christian perspective, are applicable to all faiths. The “Golden Rule” is found in various forms among all cultures. Grace-Based Living is about applying it to all areas of your life and the amazing changes that can bring.” -Crystal Lutton
“Grace Based Living” should be read by every parent, regardless of religion or culture. The essence of how to be a caring, effective parent are beautifully laid out and easy to follow. Most important, all of the parenting methods described in this amazing book work! When done correctly, the methods are practically foolproof. I’ve personally used parenting skills that Crystal describes with my own special needs son and the outcomes she details truly are effective with children who have various special needs and those that don’t. Regardless of your family dynamics, personality differences among your children or having children with special needs, this book is an absolute must to read, “dog-ear,” and keep going back to as your children move through the different phases of their lives. I highly recommend this book for every parent to read!
About Crystal Lutton:
As an academic study “grace” has spawned debate, dissertations, even denominations. We are taught:
* grace is amazing and wonderful!
* God extends His grace toward us in abundance.
* Grace is life-changing.
In this book, Crystal Lutton shows how grace can impact our lives practically by helping us navigate the nitty gritty of family interactions. Building on the principles she introduced in her book “Biblical Parenting,” and using in-depth Bible study coupled with rubber-meets-the-road experience from her own life raising 5 unique children with her husband of 16 years, Crystal crafts a solid teaching on grace that blows the lid off the academic box grace has been kept in.
Read what people are saying about Grace-Based Living!
Grace-Based Living is now available for purchase in both paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.
MotherhoodLater.com thanks Crystal Lutton for this wonderful Blog Post and for giving our readers a better understanding of what it means to be a Grace-Based Parent!