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That Little Heart

01/31/13

I am a dad of two beautiful little girls. While most days are utter bliss there are those moments when their behavior can be less than desirable. In the midst of those incidents I hear warnings from others about the teen years that are yet to come. “Just wait Daniel, this is nothing, your day is coming!” I am so grateful for the support and encouragement! We parents of small children live in fear of adolescence!

Of course it doesn’t have to be that way. Challenges and battles are coming but for today it is my responsibility to raise them in the nurture and admonition of God.

One vital aspect of parenting is understanding that your child’s behavior is important but their heart is more important. As a parent I understand the temptation to analyze and correct unacceptable behavior. But it takes the wisdom of God to look past the behavior to the condition of the heart and realize the reason for the behavior.

Poor behavior is irritating to say the least. Whining, crying, whining, stomping…did I already mention whining? We want the behavior fixed but the cause for the behavior is equally important.

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” The outward behavior of a child is determined by the inward condition of the heart. The heart determines the behavior.

If I work to change their behavior but not their heart than my efforts are in vain. Is behavior important? Yes! But is conformed behavior by itself sufficient for a child? No.

God works on our hearts from the inside out and that is the very best way to parent. Parents must focus on things deeper than behavior. It is our responsibility to aid in the process of revealing sin and showing a child how their heart has strayed from God and is in need of a Savior. We then have opportunity to point the child to Christ and promote His glory for sending His Son to free us from our sin.

Remember the next time you correct your child’s behavior that you also correct that little heart.

COMMENTS 1

1 Diana
12:48:10, 04/03/13

Thank you for the reminder to parent a child’s heart with the future in mind. I am so thankful for the direction the Lord gave us when our children were young. Sitting under Biblical preaching, having great Christian mentors and friends who were like minded in their parenting were all ways God taught us about parenting. Like a light going on in my heart, the Lord showed me that I could separate the behavior from the attitude (the heart) and that when the heart issues were addressed, the behaviors corrected themselves. Now that my children are young adults, serving the Lord by their own choice, I am forever grateful for God’s intervention in our lives that opened my eyes to see the true ‘heart’ of parenting. I long for that awakening in every parents heart and mind!

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