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November 24, 2012
The Heart is a Wrestling Place
The heart is where we wrestling with things. When experience, teaching, and values need to be integrated into life, it happens in the workshop of the heart. Information comes into our heads on a regular basis but much of it just stays there. Only when it moves down to our hearts does it become part of our lives.
When eight-year-old, Jordan, says to himself, “I’m no good. No one wants to be with me. I’ll never get it right,” he’s repeating negative things in his heart. Rebecca feels good in her heart because she refused to join those who were disrespectful to the teacher. Jack’s mom can see a heart problem because he scowls and complains whenever she asks him to do something. In each of these situations, children wrestle with things or come to conclusions about life and its challenges in their hearts.
When parents use a heart-based approach they take advantage of this wrestling inside a child. They feed nutritious information, contribute praise for growing character, and comment about the helpful and unhelpful internal dialogue as it makes its way out through behavior.
Jesus knew that the teachers of the law were struggling inside with the fact that he forgave the paralytic in Matthew 9:4. He says, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” When in Luke 24 the two disciples on the road to Emmaus realized that their surprise guest was Jesus, they reflected on the experience by saying, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Too often parents focus only on behavior, things like getting jobs done around the house and completing homework. The real work of parenting is done in the heart.
This parenting tip comes from the book Parenting is Heart Work by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.