Sunday, July 21, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: 25 Truths

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The neatest little book has arrived at my house this summer and I think that every family should take some time to read through its pages -- discussing their tenets and applying them to everyday life.  25 Truths:  Life Principles of the Happiest and Most Successful Among Us ($12.50 + shipping) by Ed Douglas is a literary jewel that discusses "character, values, and what is [truly] important in life based on Christian principles".     25 Truths can serve as a great conversation starter and beginning point for your family to follow this mandate found in Deuteronomy 11: 18 - 20:

So commit yourselves completely to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands as a reminder, and wear them on your forehead.  Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

 photo 25book_zpsac9dca24.jpgA 150-page, softcover book published by Ed Douglas Publications,  25 Truths began as a three-page list that Mr. Douglas viewed as tips to make life more enjoyable.  He began sharing them with friends, family, and students and as he shared his tips, he helped develop character in those who listened.  The tips range from physical health topics like Exercise, Exercise, Exercise to personal topics like Learn What Brings True Happiness.   

Mr. Douglas states that there is a "crisis of character in our country, and my hope is that this book can be used as a homeshcooling tool to change the world one person at a time".  Hear, hear, Mr. Douglas and THANK YOU.  While I wholeheartedly agree that there IS a crisis of character in our country, I believe that this book will benefit NOT ONLY the homeschooling community, but the community at large.   Wouldn't you agree that we can ALL stand an infusion of character and morals in our society?

A perfect study tool for students in 6th - 12th grades, college students, and adults, 25 Truths reminds us all that there is something MORE in life.  GOD desires us to have life and have it more abundantly.  25 Truths shares a life goal, inspires us to action through Scripture and quotes, and offers a way to begin as you think and talk through the discussion questions at the end of each chapter.  AND it doesn't stop there.   Mr. Douglas includes his personal testimony in the Preface of the book and shares how GOD changed his heart and his life.  He explains how GOD has blessed him and how others can receive the free gift that GOD offers to all through salvation and a personal relationship with HIM.  After sharing the 25 Truths, Mr. Douglas offers us his own +1.  The icing on the cake comes in the bonus of LOVE -- because LOVE is really all we need.  I don't know about you, but it sure is nice to me to be reminded that it's really ALL about LOVE.

Putting the 25 Truths to the Test -- Or how'd we use it?

Life is craziest at our house during the summer.  We are constantly on the go as folks move in and out from week to week for camps from all of the different activities that we're involved in throughout the year.  There's really never a week that we are all home together -- instead we meet each other coming and going as the suitcases pass through the front door.  Because of that, here's how the reading and studying of 25 Truths has worked at our house this summer (and our plans for its continued use when formal schooling begins again next month):

I placed our copy of 25 Truths in the book basket in our living room and have been excited to see my children pick it up and read through portions of it as time allows.  It's been most interesting watching my kids pick up this amazing little book and thumb through the 25 Truths on their own.  I like being able to provide "continuing education" options and 25 Truths is the perfect size to pick up and read a chapter or two during any downtime or activity-free period of the day.  Each Chapter reflects one of the 25 Truths and is a quick read at 2 - 3 pages each.  Following each Chapter or Truth, there is a 2 - 3 sentence Summary of the chapter (the "in a nutshell" of what you should remember from your reading) and a Workshop opportunity of 4 or 5 discussion questions to help you put what you've learned from the truth in action.

I asked my eldest daughters to each share one of the truths that spoke to them and why they liked it.  Here's what they shared with me:

College Sophomore:  I really liked reading Don't Talk Negatively About Others.   Mr. Douglas warns you that you should never elevate yourself at the expense of someone else, nor should you  bring yourself down by talking about someone else.  He reminds me that you don't need to compare yourself to others or others to yourself.  I've never really thought about it that way.  You know, to talk poorly about someone else in an attempt to make yourself look good really makes you look bad.  "Hey, Mom -- can I take this book to school with me when I move back to the dorms in a few weeks?"  {You KNOW it's a winner when they want to take it with them.}

High School Senior:  "I love it.  Mark Twain quotes -- that makes me happy."  The truth that resonates with me the most thus far is Get As Much Education As Possible.  This is the most relevant truth for me right now as I prepare to finish high school this year and try to decide what I want to do in college.  I agree that education is important because it allows people to have a better possibility for their future.  Mr. Douglas encourages you to stay in school, do your best, and continue studying after college -- always allowing yourself to learn new things -- so that you will become more comfortable with yourself.  If you are comfortable with yourself, you will be more comfortable with others.

{Just because I thought it was interesting, when my Senior was first reading through the 25 Truths, she stopped and looked up and asked "Was this written by a man?".  I replied that it was and began sharing a bit about Mr. Douglas.  She smiled and said "I thought it was.  Everything is so succinctly written."  Then she carried on reading some more.  I just love how she identified the author by his short, concise sentence structure, don't you?  Definitely a keeper book enjoyed by my entire family.}

And my favorite truth of all?  

So many of the included truths speak to my heart.  I especially liked reading 
Commit to Love One Person Forever and 
Spend Time with Your Family but the 
Make Every Day Your Best Day truth is most dear to my heart.  I have long clung to the phrase This Day Has Great Potential (sound familiar?) because I believe that GOD gives EVERY day the POTENTIAL to be the best day of our lives.  I was delighted to find that this same sentiment included in Mr. Douglas' Truths.  He writes that "every day we have a chance to let circumstances, pressures, other people, or events in the world get us down.  Or we can choose to make every day a special day -- our best day.  I've learned to enjoy life and make every day my best day.  You can do the same."  I could not agree more.  As for me and my house, I CHOOSE JOY.

GOD has such big plans for us, don't you agree?  We need to let HIM move through and around us.  I pray that my children will be upstanding citizens filled with qualities that strengthen others and I look for resources to remind us all that Character Matters.  I have enjoyed watching my children read through the pages of 25 Truths on their own and I am anticipating much family growth as we do an in-depth study of the truths during our school day, as well.  We'll be looking at one truth in detail each week and discussing the Workshop questions as a family.  I am looking forward to hearing how my children decide we can best implement each of the truths in our daily life.  I'm all about some happy.  Bring on the JOY.   I've already scheduled the truths into my lesson plans and have added an element where they will be searching for relevant Bible passages to complement each truth.  I'm hoping to use this as a discussion starter among us all and inspire my children to jump deeper into GOD's Word.   Won't you join us in reading through this 25 Truths character study?

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 I was given the opportunity to read and review  25 Truths:  Life Principles of the Happiest and Most Successful Among Us published by Ed Douglas Publications as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

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