Shepherding A Child’s Heart Book Club Ch. 6 and 7
Please stop by Amanda Pelser’s blog and read all of the other wonderful posts on this book. Great insights each week. Very encouraging and will bless you on your journey as a parent.
In raising our children it is our job to faithfully raise them in the ways that they should go and it is the Holy Spirit’s job to mold and shape their hearts. We can not change our children, only the Lord can, but we can instill in them His word, His heart, His ways, and prayerfully contend for their hearts to be sold out for the King. The world has many distractions and we, as parents, must stay grounded in the love of Christ and model HIM- reflect HIM, represent- RE PRESENT Him to our children. They need parental authority and need to know that they need a Savior. They can not trust in themselves, they must trust in Jesus Christ. We must nurture them along the way and teach them about “knowing God” and making Him known. When we reach our children’s heart and God changes their heart to live for Him and not themselves, they will be an unstoppable force for the Kingdom of God. This my friends is what we desire. A heart for God, a heart sold out and surrendered to the Holy One. A heart that is willing to deny the things of the flesh, deny the things of this world, and to pick up their cross and follow Him daily.
When it comes to parenting, their are many approaches to take. Many books you read will conflict with one another. One book will teach you to praise and award the child with gifts because that is building him up and showing him love and how God gives us more than we deserve. Another book you pick up to read will tell you the exact opposite. Do not ‘bribe’ your children or give them gifts for good behavior because you are teaching them selfishness. One book will tell you to praise your children and tell them how much you love them, how amazing they are, how beautiful they look in that pink dress. Then you pick up another parenting book and it will tell you not to applaud your children in that matter because it will teach them to focus on the outward appearance, on approval/appraisal of man and they will become selfish and prideful.
One thing I have come to realize is that it does not matter the “approach” so much that you take in these above examples(I think I have tried every approach there is in figuring out this parenting thing, lol), as it does in the “how” and “why” you approach them. I personally believe that as long as you are always reaching the HEART of the child and focusing on the Heart and God’s word, that the approach is not the focus, but the manner in which you take the approach.
Approaches to Training the Heart
- We can teach our children to be selfish in what we give them or we can teach them to be a cheerful giver and a cheerful receiver – it is better to give than to receive. We can read God’s word to them on selfish motives of the heart and point them to why it is good to receive gifts and to give gifts. Both are important lessons.
- We want well behaved children. Who doesn’t. When we are focusing on “behavior”, we are not solely focusing on the “outward” appearance, we are focusing on the heart when we teach our children to be kind, polite, and respectful to others. We are teaching them to love others as Jesus loves them and to speak words that will build up and not tear down. This is going beyond behavior, this is taking it a step further and giving our children a heart to not only love and respect themselves(as Jesus sees them), but to love and respect others. We want our children to rise up and be children of light in this dark world! We want them to stand firm in their faith in Christ and to be well behaved. When children are not, it shows what is in their heart! Thus, we focus on the heart, which ultimately will change their outward behavior.
- We want our children to do well in school and get a good education. Grades do and should matter because everything matters to God. God cares about EVERY detail in our life. He loves us that much! If he knows every hair that is on your head, how much does that show how he cares about the grades that you get, the foods that you eat, the words that you say,… “Excellence in All Things and All Things to God’s Glory.” We are called to excellence. We have the perfect one living on the inside of us. He is all knowing. He is the perfect one. Draw from His well, His strength in studying. Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it all for the glory of God.
- Our emotions and thoughts matter to God, thus our children’s emotions should matter to us. We need to discuss the child’s feelings, so we can get to their “heart” and the “root” of the emotion. When your child gets angry, that emotion is a response to what is going on in his heart. You, the parent, must get to the root of that sin. Your child needs to express his emotions because God gave us emotions. We are spirit beings in a body. We have a soul, which is your mind, will and emotion. We are teaching our children to have their soul come in alignment with their spirit.
- Disciplining our children. This will be between the husband and the wife to decide on the approach to take. What did the child do? The form of discipline should be given accordingly. Disciplining our children needs to be done in love. We do not discipline in anger. If you do, repent to God and to the child. This is a great model to show Christ’s unconditional love and what He did on the cross for us. Share with them God’s word on forgiveness and the importance of grace. God forgives us, so we must forgive others. God forgets our sin once we have sought his forgiveness. Get to the heart of why you are disciplining your child. Share God’s word on how He disciplines those he loves. Share God’s word to your child, “spare the rod, spoil the child.” Many teachable moments when you discipline your child. It is for their good!
I think books are great to read, but as you can tell, you get many flavors on how to parent your child. We have ONE book, the Bible, that needs to be our guide. We have been given the Holy Spirit to guide us and lead us into all truth. Pray and trust the Holy Spirit to lead you in how to train up your children. I love reading books, but don’t let these authors “dictate” what you should do. Listen to the voice of God and do what HE says to do! We are all on a journey! God loves us all and He is with us through it all. “Seek HIM first and HIS righteousness and ALL of these things shall be added unto you.“ Please read this book, but go back to the word of God and allow HIM to speak to your heart! He will show you the way!
One again, I hope you see the common thread in these posts… it is always about the “HEART.” Please share with me your thoughts on these two chapters. Do you struggle in the approaches to take in parenting your children? Do you waver back and forth in parenting -sometimes you focus on the heart and others just on outward behavior? How can I pray for you? I’d love to hear from you! Your comments make me smile!