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I was reading a parenting message we received the other day from a mom who was worried she wasn’t getting to the heart of her child. “We’ve tried to get to our son’s heart, but I think we are failing. Can you tell me what we are missing?” She went on to tell me her son was 3 years old. When I asked her what she thought “getting to the heart” of her son looked like, she could not give me an answer, so the bad news is, yes, she is failing.
The good news is it is not possible to “get to the heart” of a 3 year old, so as long as she is working on it, this mom is not failing. What does “getting to the heart” of a child look like? You have succeeded in doing so when your child has taken ownership of making choices to live his/her life by the principles God has set forth in the Bible without the supervision of someone in authority (mostly you), and without being reminded or lectured into it. They do it on their own initiative because they know living God’s way is the right thing to do, and to live His way they are willing to set aside that which could become more important to them than living for God.
This rarely happens before the teen years. Getting to the heart of your child is a process that takes years, not days, not weeks, not even months. It takes YEARS.
So the next time you get frustrated when your kids aren’t meeting your behavioral expectations, remind yourself they are showing you areas where they need your help to grow and mature. “Needing your help” generally equals correction. Their constant need for correction doesn’t mean either one of you are failing. In truth, it means they are on the timeline for normal character development, and if you are consistent in giving it to them, you are on the path to successful heart training.
"He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6) Praise God!
“Practical Parenting” Joey and Carla Link