Parenting is Heart Work {Review}

Parenting is Heart Work

In the past year, there have been several times when I’ve partnered with the National Center for Biblical Parenting to bring you great resources to help you on your parenting journey.  I do this mainly because of how wonderful I feel that their ministry is and how much it’s changed the parenting dynamic in our household.  So, recently the National Center for Biblical Parenting began a new initiative to launch parent training centers in local churches, and I wanted to help.  As a part of that initiative, I was given a copy of the book Parenting is Heart Work to review and to share my thoughts about, and so that’s what I’m doing today.

About the Parent Training Centers

In a parent training center, the National Center for Biblical Parenting to train parents.  They provide resources for discipling believers and for evangelizing to families in your community.  In this partnership, the National Center for Biblical Parenting offers one free family ministry consultation to give you tailored advice for your church, allows you access to a private Facebook group, gives you free webinars, and a mobilization kit that includes a copy of Parenting is Heart Work along with a copy of the Training Manual and audio sessions that go along with the book.  There are several other items included in the mobilization kit, and discounts on many of the products and services that they provide.

Right now, churches can receive $50 off their first year’s membership as a family training center, so be sure to check that deal out!!  There’s some great information and support to be had for churches who are wanting to empower their parents to effectively pass on their faith to their children.  We live in a time where we could use those resources more than ever!

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About the Book

Parenting is Heart Work is the fundamental cornerstone of the National Center for Biblical Parenting’s work on heart-based parenting.  Turansky and Miller begin by devoting the first four chapters to understanding the heart.  They discuss the nine different functions of the heart over the course of two chapters.  Then, they discuss the strong-willed versus the unmotivated child and how to make modifications for each child.  The final chapter in this section discusses how to spot what is inside your children’s heart by their speech, behavior and interests.

So, you might be wondering, why is there so much emphasis on the heart?  It’s because there are over 750 verses in the Bible that mention the heart, and a careful study the Bible quickly reveals that a person’s heart is their deepest spot you can reach a person and that it’s the center of their lives.  However, as parents, Turansky and Miller think that we make a critical mistake. In their words:

Instead of working on the heart, many parents settle for simply changing their children’s behavior.  After all, you can see behavior and, most of the time, you can control it.

So, Turansky and Miller make a strong case for the importance of the heart in children’s behavior and reaching the heart.

The second section of the book is called Connecting with the Heart.  Throughout this section, Turansky and Miller discuss the importance of emotions.  They discuss having emotions, the place of emotions, making emotional connections with your children and the different levels of connection that can take place in conversation.  By the end of this section, you’ll have a good handle on what the purposes of emotions are and how they figure into our heart issues and those of our children.

The third sections of the book is called Working Out Heart Change.  In this section, Turansky and Miller discuss how the things we say to ourselves become what our heart is made up of.  These things that we say to us are in substance the feelings, thoughts and emotions that our hearts have.  As a part of this, they also discuss how, as parents, we can teach the heart without discouraging our children.  The give us tools for giving children things they need to meditate on to effect heart change.  They also share with us how to use the Bible as a primary tool in effecting this heart change.

The final section of the book is called Touching Your Child’s Heart.  This section addresses correction as a tool for heart change, repentance, confession and how to manage a child who needs a break to clear their emotions and be ready for heart change.

My Thoughts on the Book

Even before I got out of the introduction of this book, I knew that it was going to be a book that was valuable for me.  I loved the illustration of Aaron with the breastplate given in the introduction.  Thanks to it, my new resolve is to never say that my children are getting on my nerves again, but to instead always place them over my heart and cover them with prayer.

I think that I’ve also always thought that my children’s problems were “their problems,” and I never stopped to consider how I had to turn to them first.  I’ve never realized that I can’t expect my children to turn their hearts to me if I haven’t turned my hearts to them first.

Another thing that I realized is that far too often, I’ve fallen into a justice mode of parenting because I thought that was what I was supposed to do.  I thought that I wasn’t doing my job if I didn’t set up punishments for for things that my children have done wrong.  I’m not saying that I’ll never use a consequence again.  What I am saying is that sometimes, in my thought that I needed to use a punishment for me to be effectively teaching my children, I’ve ended up alienating them from me, and I’ve ended up driving them further into their sinful behavior.

I’ve also far too often fallen into the trap of emotionally responding to an emotional child and saying things that I’ll regret forever just because we both were mad.  I will be leaning on God for help in not making those inappropriate responses again.  I will also never sacrifice my relationship with my children just on the altar of getting my to-do list done, in having a cleaner house or making it to an appointment on time.

This book is full of practical examples, and I’ve just barely scratched the surface of things that I’ll take from this book.  I’ve found many of the concepts and examples to be teaching to me, and I have underlined, highlighted and taken copious notes as I’ve read.  If you want to be challenged, touched and inspired to become a better parent, I would recommend that you buy a copy of this book, and be prepared to take many notes and make many changes in your household as you journey through its pages.

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