Monday, August 24, 2015

Parenting is Heart Work Review and Parent Training Center Launch

I recently had the privilege and honor to review the book, Parenting is Heart Work, as part of the Parent Training Center Blogger Launch TeamThe National Center for Biblical Parenting (NCBP) is sponsoring this initiative. They aim to shape and train the heart. They don't just try to change behaviors, because behaviors start with the heart.

I seem to be drawn to heart-based parenting resources and strategies more so now than ever. As a recently divorced mom, I wanted to read books that will enable me to connect at a deeper level with my daughter, build a stronger relationship, and reach out to her heart strings. I knew there would be new challenges that would need immediate attention and I wanted to address the issues carefully. A heart-based approach seems like the best choice. The book mentioned three major ways to work on a child's heart through 1.) Emotional Connectedness, 2.) Instruction Based on God's Word, and 3.) Correction.

A heart-based approach isn't the easy way out, but it is worth it in the long run. The authors stated that, "A heart approach to parenting means that at some points in our day or week we take the time necessary to address the hearts of our children." So many parents in today's society don't spend quality time with their children nor do they ask about heart issues. I want my daughter to know that I am here for her emotionally and will dedicate the time needed to work on changes in the heart. It is also important to realize, as parents, that feelings are just as important as obedience. A heart-based parenting style puts an emphasis on heart issues and behavior rather than outward behavior, because children process everything through their heart. The single parenting resource page contained helpful and good advice.  

What is the Parent Training Center Initiative?
(From the Website)

This initiative, sponsored by the The National Center for Biblical Parenting (NCBP), is intended to challenge churches to commit to becoming Parent Training Centers. It’s driven by 3 powerful theological truths. We’re going direct to church leaders as well as working through parents to get to the leaders in their church. The best way to learn more is to watch the videos on the web pages.

A Parent Training Center is a church that intentionally trains parents, providing resources and tools both for discipleship of believers and for evangelism to families in the community.

The National Center for Biblical Parenting offers resources and practical support to help you become the Parent Training Center God designed. The Equipping Program contains a number of mobilization tools to help you advance to the next level in your parent discipleship ministry.

Parenting is Heart Work is one of the key resources for the Parent Training Center launch which discusses a heart-based parenting style. This valuable 246-page paperback book was written by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. The book was published by David C. Cook.

Book Description (From the Website)
This foundational parenting book starts with a study of the 750 times the word “heart” is used in the Bible. That changes everything. God’s Word reveals new insight into strategies for change in a person’s life.
Concordia University’s Family Ministry Program requires that every student read Parenting is Heart Work. Dr. Ben Freudenburg says, “This is our go-to book for parenting. It’s biblical practical approach is powerful.”  
My Thoughts
The foundation of the book, Parenting is Heart Work, is clearly indicated in the following insightful scripture reference 1 Samuel 16: 7 “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 

This scripture reference really helped me think about my parenting strategies and redefine my family values. It helped me understand that I may need to refocus and adjust my ways and priorities if I desire a positive, long lasting change to take place. Too often parents focus on the outward behaviors of children and controlling their child's actions . . . that they forget the most important part which is the heart. If a behavioral issue arises, I first ask myself, "What is the heart issue?"

Parenting is Heart Work is organized into 4 main parts which consists of the 16 chapters seen below. Each section begins with a relevant scripture reference and a meaningful heart story from the Bible. 

Part 1: Understanding the Heart
A Heart Story from the Bible
    • 1.   What is the Heart? (Part 1)
    • 2.   What is the Heart? (Part 2)
    • 3.   Will I or Won’t I?
    • 4.   Do It Like You Mean It
Part 2: Connecting With Your Child’s Heart 
A Heart Story from the Bible
    • 5.   Emotions Have Feelings Too
    • 6.   Turn on Their Heart Lights
    • 7.   Avoiding Congestive Heart Failure
    • 8.   Making the Connection
Part 3: Working Out Heart Change
A Heart Story from the Bible
    • 9.   Talking to Yourself
    • 10. Teaching Your Child’s Heart
    • 11.  Meditation Management
    • 12.  A Light on the Path to Heart Change
Part 4: Touching Your Child’s Heart
A Heart Story from the Bible
    • 13. Constructive Correction
    • 14. Turn Around for Change
    • 15. Defibrillating Your Child’s Heart
    • 16. Cross Your Heart
Notice the play on words for each chapter title and how several relate to the heart. Did you know that the Bible contains at least 750 verses related to the heart? If it is mentioned that many times, then it MUST be important! But you knew that - right? The real-life family examples let you know that you are not doing this alone and that you aren’t the only one working through certain issues. The author’s compassion about the topic is definitely evident on each and every page. 

Each chapter concludes with a powerful prayer based on the topic addressed. I loved the inclusion of the prayers! They helped me become more intentional during my prayer time. The chapters in this book also contain heart bulleted ideas and reiterated key quotes in the margins. The book contains many Bible references and quotes which address the importance of the heart.  

Here are just a few of my favorite key quotes from the book:
  • "You can force a child to change behavior, but you can't force a change of heart." 
  • "Once you have a heart-based approach, your problem-solving strategies change." 
  • "The intangible gifts we give our children usually touch the heart more effectively than the tangible ones."
  • "To help your children process emotions in a healthy way, you must first acknowledge their feelings."
  • "Parents who simply focus on giving consequences find their children's hearts grow hard, and distance dominates their relationships." 
  • "Rules focus on behavior. Principles focus on the heart."
  • "Parents who simply say something and expect their children to instantly change are often frustrated." 

There is a reader’ study guide located at the back of the book which contains corresponding thought-provoking questions for each chapter. The study guide can be used independently or during small group discussions. The questions are geared towards helping parents focus on and apply heart-based strategies and concepts to their parenting toolbox which should lead towards a heart-change. I used these questions as I read through the book’s content in order to dig deeper and gain as much knowledge as I could from the book. You could easily arrange a 10-13 week book study with friends or fellow church members.

Parenting is Heart Work receives my highest recommendation as a Christian parenting resource. I highly recommend that all parents add this book to their parenting resource collection. It is a must read for all parents with a desire to mold and change their child’s heart rather than simply modifying behavior temporarily.

This superb book inspires parents to emphasize their child’s heart and to not necessarily focus on outward behaviors. The practical advice and powerful scripture references contained in this book will encourage parents towards grace-based parenting with a foundation on the Word of God. I would also recommend this book to pastors, Sunday school leaders, and grandparents. 

I plan on implementing several of the ideas mentioned in this book. The book was a quick read so I'll probably skim over it again and again as a refresher. It contained practical yet encouraging information. Many revelations were made as I read through the content - I think this book will get you thinking about what kind of parent you want to be and inspire you to become a better parent.  

Share this information with your church leaders. Help them become aware of this initiative today!

Paperback $15.99
Amazon $13.40 and Kindle eBook $9.99

Note: Parenting is Heart Work is sold at other online retail outlets and bookstores.

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