Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Guest Blogger: Parenting is Heart Work

Todays guest bloggers are Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN from the National Center for Biblical Parenting.

Parenting is Heart Work
By Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN

"This young man looks just like a king," Samuel thought as he gazed at Jesse’s oldest son, strong and handsome. “Surely people will want to follow him,” but God corrected Samuel by saying, "Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks at the heart."

This same truth must revolutionize the strategies and approaches that we, as parents, use with our kids. God is interested in hearts because that's where real and lasting change takes place. In fact, when we direct our energies toward our child's heart, amazing things happen.

Unfortunately, many parents settle for simply changing their child's behavior. After all, behavior is what irritates and embarrasses us as parents. We can see behavior and most of the time we can even control it. But God is interested in the heart.

The Bible uses the term "heart" over 750 times. It's the place where we wrestle with things, develop commitments and determination, feel emotions and it's where temptations and desires develop.

Children talk to themselves in their hearts. At least that's what Esau did when he was tricked by his brother. The Bible says that Esau said in his heart, "I’m going to kill my brother Jacob." Some children brood, get angry with themselves or others and meditate on perceived injustice. All children have inner dialogues based on how they see the world and what they believe. They strategize and console themselves in their hearts.

What a child believes in his heart, dictates how he will respond to life. This becomes an important fact for us as parents as we look for ways to maximize the impact we have with our kids. We need to develop eyes that see opportunities to soften a child’s heart and make it teachable. Teaching a child’s mind is not enough—we need to “penetrate the thoughts and intentions of the heart” if we want to truly impact our children for the future.

A heart-based approach to parenting is powerful, but it means that we look past behavior to the deeper issues going on inside. It's not easy. Parenting is hard work because parenting is heart work.

The book Parenting is Heart Work is authored by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN, co-founders of the National Center for Biblical Parenting. It's a biblical study of the heart identifying several practical tools you can use in your parenting. The book is published by Cook Communication. You may also visit www.biblicalparenting.org to sign up for free email parenting tips that provide short heart-based parenting reminders a couple of times a week.

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