Man, this parenting thing really keeps my on my toes. I remember when I thought getting up every three hours to sit down and nurse a baby was super difficult (which it is at times!). Now, along with the nursing sessions with Caleb, I have been really challenged in the parenting spectrum in other areas. Not because my sweeties are super challenging but because I’m finding that I have only been doing a part of godly parenting. So far, Josh and I have been concerned about our children’s behavior as well as academics. We’ve taught them ABC’s and how to write their names. We’re careful about how much television they watch and try to read several book a day to each one. We make sure they are responsible for their rooms and clean up after themselves. The list of things we “make sure” we do goes on and on. However, we both recently realized that this is a mere part of raising children. We were missing the big picture of parenting their hearts.
Now, parenting a child’s heart sounded REALLY daunting and terrifying to me at first. But, when I searched God’s word for His take on the issue, I found that even God is more concerned about our hearts! He desires that our motives are pure and that we don’t do things out of selfish ambition. If that’s the case, I’m pretty sure that while a clean bedroom is important, a good heart attitude to go along with that outward cleanliness is EVEN better. We are still finding what this means for us (parenting a child’s heart, that is), but here’s what we’ve found so far… It takes more time, patience, and is SO worth it! I’ve noticed that when I stop to calmly explain why something is wrong and then take time to pray about it, the behavior is often not repeated. The two girls have begun to ask more questions about what God wants for them to do, and they ask to pray about things more promptly than before. We talk about selfishness and praise them when they lovingly give or share without a reward as a motive.
Please understand that we are in the beginning stages of this and certainly do not have this art mastered. However, I’m grateful that the Lord has laid this on our hearts now rather than later! If you have any other ideas to share with me about this, I’d greatly appreciate it! I firmly believe that it takes a village to raise children. 🙂