Go After Their Hearts

Last year, a man and woman came to speak at our church. They were the parents of nine children. Six of their children had been killed in a house explosion a few months earlier, and they had come to share their testimony with us. As the father spoke, he explained that because they had nine children, they were often asked to give parenting advice or teach parenting Sunday School classes. He said most people want a plan to get their children to behave well. His advice was — do not focus on behavior. He said, “Go for their hearts. If you capture their hearts, the behavior will follow.”

So, parents, how do you go after your children’s hearts? I have some ideas, but I want to hear your ideas and opinions first. πŸ™‚

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9 Comments

Filed under Family, motherhood, parenting

9 responses to “Go After Their Hearts

  1. I’m not sure I am entirely successful at “getting the behavior”, but here are some ways I go for their hearts.
    *Role model, role model, role model! You can’t preach what you don’t practice. Some of the many things I try to role model are: patience, love/unconditional love, affection, faith/reliance and trust in God, respect and caring for others, praise of accomplishments, recognizing/evaluating/and making good choices
    *Use any opportunity as a “teachable moment” and help them learn to process
    *Show them you are interested in them and begin talking about the difficult stuff early, to make it easier for them
    *Focus on what we can do differently, not what we did wrong
    *Show appropriate vulnerability
    *BE THERE! Physically, spiritually, mentally, socially – as much as you possible can. Show them that in this busy world, you have made them top priority.
    *Nurture their natural gifts and make sure to point them out – some are caring, some have the gift of humor, some are sensitive and perceptive. Help them see the good in themselves – tell them and show appreciation for the uniqueness of each.
    *Assist them to find creative ways to identify and improve their weaker areas.

    This is a start of my list. Great post. I’m excited to read more ideas from others. Two recent posts of mine relate to this from two different age groups:

    http://dyingarts.wordpress.com/2007/01/30/anger-management/

    http://dyingarts.wordpress.com/2007/01/12/dating/

  2. There . . . your post is released from moderation. πŸ™‚ The links tripped it up. Sorry about that.

  3. Good question. I look forward to hearing others as well.
    This topic is on my heart lately.
    I recently read Parenting from the Heart by Marilyn Boyer. It was like a Titus2 heart to heart in a book.
    Now I am a few chapters into Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman. and next will re-read Keeping Our Children’s Hearts, by Steve and Terry Maxwell.
    Turning our hearts toward our children, and drawing them near (As God does with us) is vital.
    I have much room for improvement.

  4. This was a great post. I agree with this gentleman 100%, and I think that the key to capturing the heart of a child is to be the one that is the major influence in that child’s life. Proverbs 22:6 still works, and this is a command to the parent, not to the church, youth pastor, coach, or school. Parents need to do their jobs providing love, discipline, and direction for their children.

  5. Hey there–we must have been on the same wavelength this week! A comment left on a post I just wrote referred to this post from you! Excellent! So I’m going to save my fingers and say…stop on by my site for my comment to this one!

  6. YES! I believe in discipline and training, too, but if good behavior is our sole focus, we are creting little Pharisees. The heart is the seat of our being. I’m working on this with my children, and am not too sure I have any recommendations at the present time. πŸ™‚ BTW, thanks for the link in your blog roll; I really appreciate it!

  7. Sorry for the typo. I’ll do a better job of proof reading my comments one of these days!

  8. You’re welcome. πŸ™‚ And don’t worry about typos. I obviously don’t.

  9. Pingback: Go After Their Hearts — Part 2 « My Derbe

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