Open or Closed Heart?

Am I closing or opening my child’s heart? Simply put, that is the best way to evaluate our parenting. There are many opinions and words of advice on how we should parent. Ultimately it boils down to one interaction after another after another stacked up on themselves for decades. In each interaction we can ask ourselves the question,  “Am I closing or opening my child’s heart?” Each child is unique in how we need to relate to them and that relating changes from age to age. One child needs constant direction and another is too compliant to be healthy. Parenting isn’t about winning the argument, getting them to behave, making sure they’re happy – no ultimately parenting is all about our child’s heart.

Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.”

A similar passage in Colossians says parents. These passages are for all parents, not just fathers.

This concept of the family structure being about relationships brought a radical view on all of society at the time. This passage turned culture upside down because the Gospel turned culture upside down. In a world that was male centered for millennia, suddenly people were being instructed to consider the hearts of the members of their families. We are essentially stewards of our children’s hearts.

So how do we steward our child’s heart?

The Old Testament book of Deuteronomy 6: 5-7  says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

As adults, we can shape children’s hearts through our communication, the lifestyle we model, and the structure we provide.

Each of us can evaluate from interaction to interaction, am I closing or opening my child’s heart?

Closing their heart is a critical or dismissing voice, ignoring or minimizing and assuming negative.

Opening their heart is an engaging voice, understanding, validating and reflecting, and calling out the best.

In your lifestyle with you children are you closing or opening their heart?

Closing their heart is passing them off to others, always in a group setting, and being inconsistent or ignoring.

Opening their heart is showing up for their life, getting one on one time, and being present.

In setting structure for your child are you closing or opening their heart?

Closing their heart is expecting too much, setting no boundaries, and punishing harshly.

Opening their heart is having agreed upon rules, being age appropriate, and giving natural choices.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. The ultimate end to our parenting is opening our child’s heart so that one day they can respond to the prompting of the spirit and choose Christ.

I can’t give my child what I don’t have myself but if I have my heart open to the love of Jesus and chose to follow him, if I experience the grace and love of Jesus, then I will know how to extend grace and love to my children.

If I love the lord my God with all my heart soul and strength, then I will sense when I am closing my child’s heart or opening my child’s heart to the love of God.

Pastor's BlogNanci Ricks