Saturday, July 20, 2013

25 Truths: A TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

Ed Douglas is a Christian man in his sixties. He has (and continues to) lived a "successful" life. He has been very successful in the banking industry, and he has been very involved in mentoring youth and young adults through volunteerism, coaching, and motivational speaking. He was encouraged by a friend to
extend his motivational messages to the written word so that he could target a larger audience, to benefit more folks.

Mr. Douglas's 25 Truths is very inspirational. This 150-paged paperback book is a powerhouse of nuggets from Ed Douglas's life and brain. In this book I learned such a variety of things--not only inspirational, but also educational and entertaining! For example, sliced bread originated in Chillicothe, Missouri. (Now there is a very Native American sounding name for a city!)  The link to 25 Truths indicates that the price of the book is $15.50, but when you click on "Buy Now" the price is actually only $12.50. 

I volunteered to do this review because I wanted to do it for my own benefit. I have a certain number of personal truths that I live by, but I wanted motivation and inspiration to expand to more truths. I have long been attracted to George Washington's George Washington's Rules for Civility and Decent Behavior. But there are so many, and while they are amusing, I certainly hope some of them never apply to my life! ("Kill no vermin as fleas, lice, ticks, etc. in the sight of others; if you see any filth or thick spittle put your foot dexterously upon it [GROSS!]. If it be upon the cloths of your companions, put it off privately, and if it be upon your own cloths return thanks to him who puts it off.") They apply to a different era (when chewing tobacco and spittoons were part of high society). 

When I was growing up, my dad would share bits of wisdom to live by -- usually saying from Ben Franklin ("A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush"; "A penny saved is a penny earned"; "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"; "Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise!"). He believed in putting some money away for a rainy day. He did not believe in spending money he didn't have (credit). But he was not a Christian, and we were not taught tithing.

Ed Douglas's Truths are delivered from a Christian perspective, provided with scripture references that apply and with anecdotes from Mr. Douglas's life that illustrate the principles. Many of his Truths are concepts that I have already been living by, although I have not articulated them the same way. Here are some of Mr. Douglas's Truths and the corresponding saying that I have that is similar but sometimes slightly different:
  • "Be Slow to Judge" vs. "Use charitable judgments";
  •  "Don't hate; instead, be quick to forgive" vs. "No one is perfect; be quick to forgive."
  •  "Take life one step at a time"   vs.   "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Just get started and take baby steps." (Yeah, that's a mixed metaphor...)
  • "Tell the truth" vs. "Don't lie". I know that is a fine line, but I learned a long time ago that just because something is true ("You're fat!") doesn't mean it needs to be said. So, in teaching my kids I tell them they don't need to say everything that is true, but never lie. When I was a secretary, my boss would often ask me to hold calls saying, "Tell them I'm in a meeting." I wouldn't do it, but I was happy to say, "I'm sorry, he isn't available right now. May I take a message?"
Ed Douglas believes that integrity is the most important character trait that a person can have, and I totally agree with that and want to be able to convey that to my son. This is definitely a truth that I have always lived by, that my integrity is primary. If my kids ask, "Can we do..." whatever, I never answer "Yes!" quickly. I might say, "It is possible, but I'm not promising you yet." If they impatiently demand a yes or no answer, I say, "If you have to have an answer right now, then the answer is 'No!', because I won't say yes until I know for sure if we can do it or not." I guess my "Truth" in that situation would be, "Never make a promise until you are certain you can keep it."

I just appreciate so much that Mr. Douglas has written down his principles and done so in a format that can be used with our young folks. The chapters are short and concise, yet contain understandable, impacting examples. Each chapter ends with discussion questions to help the reader further contemplate and apply the concept, and also to help the mentor follow up on the application.
My favorite chapter in the book (right now) is the chapter called "Set Goals and Write Them Down". This chapter helped me to realize that I am not getting as much done in my life as I want to because my goals are just kind of mushy and soft, not concrete and not written, and without implementation plans. There's a difference between, "I plan to lose weight" and "My goal is to lose ten pounds by October, and this is how I will work to make it happen...." I have certain things that I have written down and accomplished successfully as a result (home school lesson plans), some plans I have written down that haven't gotten done (certain lessons), which is okay, and some plans that are vague, ooey gooey, and not getting done. I am going to zero in on these plans and get focus, and I plan to get results.

My son is not at a place right now where he can handle tackling this book at a pace of one to three lessons a week, but we will be working on these Truths principles situationally, as conversation or situation brings a specific Truth concept to the surface. Simultaneously many of these truths will be echoed in the Boy Scout life my son is pursuing ("A Scout is Loyal, Trustworthy, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind... etc). Having these two dove-tail, as they do, will be a "double whammy" for my son. Each "program" will reinforce the other, giving strength to both as the concepts grow in my son. The future looks bright!   

I recommend 25 Truths to you for you to read through and have your child read through to target character growth. Mr. Douglas's main audience of experience is high school through adult, but 25 Truths is suitable for use with students as young as 6th grade. Younger students can listen while you read aloud, and then participate in the discussion; older students can read the chapter on their own, fill out answers at end of chapter, and participate with you in the discussion. 

Ed Douglas also wrote Making A Million on $2000 and Money Marathon which you might also want to look into.   You can follow him on twitter here. He also gives live inspirational seminars and writes a monthly advice column. Read a little about his books and find contact information for Mr. Douglas at his Ed Douglas website.

I received a copy of 25 Truths for free for purposes of this review.  

Other members of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew also received copies and wrote reviews. Click below to read more reviews:

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