The heart is where people hold their convictions. It's where they develop operating principles about life. Kids already have convictions, but many of those convictions are incomplete or erroneous.
For example, a child may believe that if my brother is annoying then I have the right to punch him. Or, if I'm unhappy with the situation then my bad attitude is justified. An attitude is fueled by beliefs. If a child believes that his job description of life is to have fun, then work of any kind can be annoying.
Simply rewarding kids for positive behavior may get them to perform for a time, but giving them a vision so that they understand right and wrong produces greater results. Kids are then more willing to put their hearts into their work and aren't dependent on the latest gimmick.
Too much emphasis on behavior modification encourages young people to become modern day Pharisees. Jesus brought a new message that spirituality is about the heart. We must get that message into our parenting and into our homeschool classrooms. We must become more interested in our own hearts as well, not just our actions. It's not about looking organized and orderly. It's about having a heart that follows after Jesus.
By Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN are the authors of the new book entitled, The Christian Parenting Handbook: 50 Heart-Based Strategies for All the Stages of Your Child's Life. Both the Millers and the Turanskys homeschooled their children who are all grown now.
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