Discussing "The Need" to Keep Our Children's Hearts

As I stated in a previous post, I am going to be going through "Keeping Our Children's Hearts" by The Maxwells throughout this school year. Below I have listed the discussion questions (along with my answers) from chapter 1, "The Need". Please feel free to discuss in the comments thoughts on your own children.

1. What factors do you think go into keeping a child's heart? (This is a pretty loaded question, so really think on it and don't be afraid to answer it fully. This will really help us set a foundation).

For our family, right now,

  • a lot less television. This is my first challenge and I haven't yet figured out how to tackle it. I am in a tough season to pull it, but again, we're going to go through challenging times and I need to find better ways to help my children cope.
  • a lot more Jesus in our days/lives. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 "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 upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." This ought to be the cornerstone of our home. Loving God and constantly learning about Him all throughout the day. He should saturate everything we do.
  • less "free time". I know Charlotte Mason was a big advocate of lots and lots of free time for children to explore, but this is something I disagree with. Too much free time leads to temptations and sin. Boredom too often can cause major problems. Children need to occupy their time so they are not occupied by sin.  I'm not saying to never give them free time, but it must be monitored and not too long. I've noticed too much free time leads to more fighting, more boredom/complaining, poor work ethic, less direction, and poor time management, among other things. Having a detailed schedule (hello MOTH) will help with this. We can easily make the schedule...it's implementing and remaining consistent about it that is the challenging part. Masterly Inactivity I agree with, if in fact it is masterly. Again, something I need to monitor.

2. What factors will hinder keeping a child's heart?

Again, this pertains to me/my family, personally. These are things I see as hindering my children's hearts:

  • anger/frustrations. I tend to deal with this a lot more than I should. And so does my husband. I get angry/frustrated with myself because I don't do what I want to do (remember Paul? Why do I do the things I hate?) I also get angry/frustrated with having to constantly tell my children things they have heard everyday. I want to be patient with them and remember they are children. Even as an adult I forget things or tend to not want to do things. My job is to train them to do it anyway.
  • television. It's not the content, it's the time spent. I put it on just about everyday. If I wake up late in the mornings, I turn on PBS Kids and they watch it waay too long. In the afternoon they watch a movie during quiet time. Obviously, I want to change that up and perhaps doing story reading and like during the afternoon quiet time. Mornings have been really challenging for me during the pregnancy (and probably won't get much better once baby is here, but maybe a little?) lol. I want to limit our tv viewing to weekends only, and yet still have a time limit on it. Maybe even "earn" their tv time by being sure their chores and other responsibilities get completed throughout the week.
  • lack of quality time. While homeschooling is certainly time well-spent, it doesn't replace that 1-on-1 time with each child. There are different kinds of "time" that needs to be spent with children: fun & games, work, talks, reading, meals out, etc. This is something that needs to be implemented in my schedule so it doesn't get pushed aside.

3. How much time and effort would you be willing to invest to keep your children's hearts?

This question really gets to the heart of things, because it doesn't ask, "How much time and effort should you invest..." It asks me, personally, how much am I willing to invest. It certainly isn't as much as I have been. It needs to be much more. And those days when I do fully focus on the calling God has placed before me, are the best days ever. They are fulfilling and complete.

So, to answer the question, it's really going to be making a commitment. Or recommitment. I'm going to be bold here and commit to whatever it takes. Which means I'll have to give up some things and learn to deal without them. Something I really need to do is set aside my personal emotions in order to properly care for and train my children. This is a huge, HUGE commitment.

4. How likely do you think it is for a child to rebel in his teens if you don't have his heart?

It's higly likely...I'd say near guaranteed. However, I've come across some exceptions (including my husband and myself).

Keeping Our Children's Hearts - The Need

Over the course of this school year, I am going to be reading through Keeping Our Children's Hearts by The Maxwells. Not only am I going to read through it, but I'm going to really take the time to apply it.

I have finished chapter one: The Need. Questions such as "Why do we need to keep our childrens hearts?" and "What factors go into keeping a child's heart?".

There are things we must add into our lives and things that must be removed.

The Maxwells talk about two main thrusts to keeping hearts. The first involves turning our hearts toward our children.

And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the father to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. - Luke 1:17

The second thrust has to do with protecting our children from negative influences while giving them purpose and direction in life. (pg. 16).

This will help me answer questions such as:

  • What goals do I have for my children?
  • Will I encourage them to learn to work and keep them busy? (by far a challenge for me)
  • Are they learning to spend quality time with the Lord in Bible reading and prayer?
  • Have they learned to love to serve?

I will be posting on this book every 2 weeks. I am in no hurry to just get it read and move on to "the next thing". My hope is to really absorb this and apply it to our lives, creating small goals along the way.

If you're interested in purchasing this book, you can visit Titus2.com. My endorsement of this book or their website is not compensated in anyway. I do it simply because I highly recommend the material and love the teachings they offer. They are truly a family after God's heart and want to help steer other families on the same path.