A Review of the book A Love That Multiplies: An Up-Close View of How They Make It Work
Recently, I read A Love That Multiplies: An Up-Close View of How They Make It Work by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar. The book has inspired the mother’s heart inside of me. I appreciated Michelle’s humble approach to sharing her strategies for parenting a large family. To be honest, most would say she could have cause for being huffed up and full of self. She has gracefully and lovingly allowed the multitudes to look into her home life and examine her daily routines.
I can think of no scarier event than cameras RECORDING my every reaction to unexpected spills, flat tires, or simple events like making dinner for an extended period of time. To allow your actions to be captured on film every waking hour!! How many other moms are hearing the music from jaws kick in as you chew that one over! However, Michelle is able to do this because of her love for Christ and her desire to live out what the Bible teaches daily even when it is only God watching.
Heart of Christ/ Heart of a Teacher : 1John 4: 7 we learn that God IS LOVE. 1Corthians 13:4-8 outlines what love looks like when in practice. I have appreciated her desire to love as Christ loves even as she wipes up spills or changes a diaper. But she doesn’t stop there. Just like Christ devoted his life to teaching his disciplines about God (which God is love) she has done the same with her children.
This means teaching the love of Christ and will of God at all opportunities. An example of this from the book is with conflict resolutions amongst siblings. Michelle helped her family learn chapter 18 of Mathew. In this chapter conflict resolution is outlined. She now expects her kids to apply the knowledge learned to their daily lives. This means if one child acts out against another child (i.e. takes a toy or isn’t helping to complete the chores) the children should first address the issue in private with the offending child. It is only when the siblings cannot find a peaceful, godly resolution that they should go get their mom or dad. This is just one of the many examples in the book that highlighted her ability to apply the wisdom of scripture to her children’s lives and left me desiring to do the same for my family. However, she doesn’t stop there but rather she takes it a step forward by “Salting the Oats.”
“Salting the Oats” is Michelle’s way of saying she wants the kids to DESIRE the word of God. To hunger for it! How else will they know God and how they should live? So, scripture memory is a part of their lives but she strives and prays to make it much more than just knowing the words to scripture. Her goal is for the time in God’s word to be fun, interactive, and engaging for the kids. This way they will desire the word of God independently.
I have been praying and looking for ways to “Salt the Oats” for my children. Recently, I found a way to salt Proverbs 1:8-9 for my children.
My child, listen when your father corrects you.
Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
9 What you learn from them will crown you with grace
And be a chain of honor around your neck.
There is a lot of good truth in this passage that is hard for a 4yr & 2yr old to get without help. Some of the scripture my kids learn is for when they are older and can understand, but this one I felt was simple enough for them with a little demonstration.
In the morning we went over the Proverbs 1:8-9 and talked about. We discussed that our children have 2 dads. Dad who is here on earth and their Abba Father in heaven. We discussed the need to listen when either Dad is correcting or teaching them. Then we talked about and gave examples of mom’s instructions.
After this we discussed verse 9. How when we obey it is changing us on the inside. Because I want them to experience this on the outside we made a “chain” which was a shoe-string. I placed the chains around each of their necks and showed them a bag of jewels I would be carrying with me during the day. (They are beads for jewelry making). I said “My instructions, your Dad’s lessons, or the word of God is like this jewel. It is beautiful and Proverbs 1:9 explains when we live them out it is like we are placing beautiful jewels around our necks.”
Then I went on to say “Today, I want you to see what is happening inside you when you chose to obey and live as Christ tells us to. Everytime I CATCH you living out the lessons that Mommy, Daddy, and Abba God has taught I am going to add another jewel to your chain of honor. However, I must catch you. You can not come and TELL me you did something.” (I did this so I did not get flood every other second with a child coming up to tell me something they did and to reinforce this is a life style we chose to live throughout the day not just in the moment.)
It has been fun passing out the beads today. It has allowed me many opportunities to talk to my children about the Word of God and how we are to live. Also it lets me work on scripture with the kids. For example, my 4yr old dropped his snack on the sidewalk and was sad. His sister with out prompting walked over and said “It’s ok. I’ll share my snack with you” and hands him her snack. I immediately pulled out a bead and praised her behavior. Then I asked, “Who can remember where in the Bible we are told to be ‘Generous and willing to share’.” My son answered correctly 1 Timothy 6:18.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and appreciate Michelle’s take on salting the oats. I truly desire my kids to have a heart for Christ and not just “look” well behaved in public. I appreciated her example of examining the heart of your children over the appearance of the situation. As a mom, I have fallen trap to caring more about what my peers think than what Christ wants and I am grateful this godly woman wrote a book to encourage families to live out the love of Christ daily in their neighborhoods AND in their homes.