I was privileged to review the book How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids by Rachael Carman.
In summary, this is a book on "bringing your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). She takes a somewhat abstract concept and breaks it down into five biblical components of godly parenting.
H- Having a heart for the things of God. It all starts with the parents. How can you teach your children to "seek first the Kingdom of Heaven" if you aren't doing it yourself? A wonderful reminder to show our children rather than just telling them to put God first.
E- Enriching your marriage. Again, she gives not just abstract theology, but practical suggestions at how to respect and build up your husband. A strong marriage is an important foundation for Christian parenting.
A- Accepting your kids. I especially needed to read this chapter. "We must seek God first when it comes to molding our children, or we will make the mistake of molding them inot our image instead of His. We will try to make them inot what we want them to be for our pleasure and pride and not for the glory and praise of their heavenly Father." (How to Have a HEART for your Kids p. 108) Ouch! I needed this reminder to seek God's will for our children and then to step back and be able to recognize it when I see it, even when it differs from my preconceived ideas.
R- Releasing your children to God. This chapter is all about our focus in training up our children. Academics and profitable skills should take a back seat to the things of God. Carman asserts that like Hannah in her training up Samuel for the purpose of working in God's tabernacle, all believers are called to raise up their kids to love, honor, and obey God. "It doesn't matter if they grow up to become doctors or lawyers, mothers or nurses, accountants or diplomats, hairstylists or car dealers. They are to be prepared to honor God in whatever they say and do." (How to Have a HEART for your kids p. 127) I understand this a little more each year we homeschool! Our emphasis has definitely shifted over the years and for the better... on the Word of God and the supremecy of Christ! And after all the prayers and training, sweat and tears, the day will come for us to let go and release our children to the Lord-- even if, or especially if it means allowing them to do something different for the Lord than what we had in mind. Like going to the other side of the world to be a missionary. Or not going to college. Another tough chapter with many wonderful insights to glean for parenting your children with purpose.
T- Teaching them the truth. This chapter is really the "how to" of the previous one. We can't train our children to seek first the kingdom of Heaven apart from saturating them with the Word of God. There is no short-cut preparation for a life of service to the Lord. Many of us homeschoolers claim Deuteronomy 6 as our mission statement, but how much time do we actually practice teaching our children God's Word? This chapter encourages making His Word the foundation of your homeschool and gives practical suggestions on how to pull it off.
I'm happy to recommend this wonderful resource to you. While written by a homeschooling mom, this book would be equally helpful for all Christian parents, regardless of how you choose to educate your children.
How to Have a HEART for your Kids by Rachael Carman is available for $13 from Apologia Press. Other great resources for parents from Apologia Press include Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson and 7 Tools for Cultivating Your Child's Potential by Zan Tyler.
Please check out the other TOS crew reviews for How to Have a HEART for your Kids.
Disclaimer: I recieved no compensation, other than a free copy of this book, for the writing of this review. The contents of this review express my personal opinion of the book.