Total Family Makeover: 8 Practical Steps to Making Disciples at Home gives parents practical hands-on advice for implementing Proverbs 22:6. How many times have you read this and wondered if you’re training your children correctly?

Train children in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it. ~Proverbs 22:6

I don’t usually read many family or parenting books. However, when I read the Table of Contents for Total Family Makeover by Melissa Spolestra, I knew I would enjoy reading this book! The introduction alone caught my interest with the title, Your Kids are Not Your Report Card.

One of the most memorable takeaways from this book for me, comes in this Introduction (Your Kids are Not Your Report Card). Spoelstra describes the pendulum of parenting where one minute we can feel such pride in our children for their accomplishments (and subsequently feel we share in the success) and another minute we are grabbing our misbehaving child (and the rest of the kids) and running away in shame from a situation that leaves us feeling like a failure of a parent. As much as we try to disconnect from that pendulum, it is such a strong tendency we have. Spoelstra shows the similarity between the rebellion/sinful choices of Adam and Eve and our own children. In doing so, she invited the reader to imagine them in close relationship with God, living as his beloved creations in the perfect environment of the Garden of Eden, and even with God, the PERFECT parent, yet…they still chose to sin. Is their choice a reflection on God as a parent? No. We all have a sinful nature and even if you are the closest thing possible to Earthly perfection as a parent and provide a nearly flawless life for your children, they will still choose to be sinful at times and some of those sins might have more painful consequences and/or drive them further from God than others like that of Adam and Eve.

The chapters had informational titles that tell exactly what the reader will be learning, and I really enjoyed reading what Spoelstra calls the 8 Habits of Growth. These habits are vital to spiritual growth individually and as a family.

  • Spending Time in Prayer
  • Reading God’s Word
  • Growing Through Mentoring
  • Finding Community in the Church
  • Serving Others
  • Taking Time to Rest
  • Giving Back to God
  • Sharing Your Faith

Spoelstra uses relevant personal stories to give examples of understanding from a parent who has been there. She comes across as honest and relatable, which is helpful to the reader.

As a parent myself with 3 children in different life stages this book is practical and helpful. I look forward to reading this with my wife to better put into action the content of this book. One of my favorite chapters was Finding Community in the Church. She stresses the importance of getting plugged in, without making the reader feel guilty for missing out.

If you’re struggling with fulfilling Proverbs 22:6, or you’re feeling like you’re stuck in your parenting, or entering a new phase of parenting, I highly recommend this book for you. If you’re on the fence about reading it, consider this statement from the back cover:

Disciples are made, not born. ~Total Family Makeover


Total Family Makeover: 8 Practical Steps to Making Disciples at Home

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.