Not too long ago, I received a copy of Life Ki-do Parenting by Jonathan and Lana Hewitt from the Time with Tracy blog. It contains an interesting approach to parenting. Much of what he says makes sense, and seems very practical. While not written from a Christian point of view, Life Ki-do Parenting conveys a very positive, others-centric strategy to parenting that is crucial to raising our children. Here’s a brief synopsis of the book.
My first question was what the title meant. In the middle of the first chapter, Hewitt explains it: ki means “inner strength or spirit,” and do means “the way.” So, Life Ki-do means “the way of living from your own inner strength and spirit and honoring the same in others.” Hewitt teaches martial arts, which provides a little more insight as to where his teachings and methods come from. This background lends itself to strong discipline as well.
While good, I think his approach stops short. In order to effectively communicate these principles, we cannot approach this on our own strength; we need God as the foundation.
That said, the Hewitts give some solid principles that go a long way to establishing some good parenting habits.
Life Ki-do Parenting starts off with what the Hewitts call the Four Pillars of Parenting.
Pillar # 1 is Modeling.
In order for our kids to develop good social skills for life, we need to model it in our own lives.
Pillar # 2 is Unconditional Love and Acceptance.
We are responsible for loving our kids. This includes the good times and the bad times. Accepting each child for who they are is essential.
Pillar # 3 is Nurturing and Empowering Encouragement.
Developing an atmosphere where kids can learn to be their best without fear is necessary for them to feel encouraged and confident in their abilities and decisions.
Pillar # 4 is Empowering Discipline.
At times, our children will misbehave. How we deal with that misbehavior can help or hinder their growth and development.
With the 4 Pillars of Parenting in place, the Hewitts move on to 4 Life Ki-do Tools.
Tool # 1 is called the River Check-In – 3 Bs.
This tool enables the child to develop focus by practicing mindfulness of the body, breath and brain. Checking these 3 Bs helps the child to focus on himself and on others around him.
Tool # 2 is called River Effort – Ice, Puddle, River.
The River is an essential concept here; a River flows. A Puddle is to soft and splashy, and Ice is too hard. Both of these types of attitudes aren’t what we are striving for; but a smoothly flowing River conveys the right idea. This concept helps the child to feel her best.
Tool # 3 is the A-B Formula.
Acceptance, and then Baby Steps. This tool enables the child to develop resilience and the ability to deal with challenges in life. The first part of this is acceptance of the situation. The latter half identifies the first step or two towards resolution.
Tool # 4 is My Shoes, Your Shoes, Our Shoes.
This tool helps the child to see the problem from their own perspective, followed by from the other point of view. This helps her learn empathy. Finally, this tool encourages a team based resolution to the problem.
While much of this seems to formulaic to work “out of the box,” I think the Hewitts have identified some solid principles in Life Ki-do Parenting. The ideas of putting others first and developing empathy, for example, are definitely biblical, and foundational to developing good life skills.
This is not the only approach to parenting. In fact, it may work well at all for many families. However, I did gain several solid insights and principles from reading it that I can apply to my approach to parenting my own children. And for that it was worth reading.
It might be a resource that you could use as well.
Question: Does the concept of Life Ki-do parenting intrigue you? What about it do you find interesting? You can leave a comment by clicking here.