Discipleship learning gives us the opportunity to touch our children’s heart. When we talk about the heart we aren’t talking about our love for God, or our love for our family; it is much bigger, broader than that. When we study the heart as it is mentioned in the Bible we find that it is talking about:
- Our inner man, the conscience, the soul
- Our mind, the place where we understand, think, reflect and know things
- Our will, the place where we have inclinations and make resolutions
- Our character
- Our passions and emotions
The heart is what makes us tick, it is what makes me, me. The heart is our inner self that directs our every action, our very life. And the heart needs to be shaped by the word of God.
So often as a parent we settle for good behaviour but our behaviour is driven by our belief and unless we teach and train the belief systems, our children will not be well prepared for their future. Our ultimate goal is that our children have an understanding why something is the right thing to do and they will have a desire to walk that way. This inner conviction is what will direct their decisions and choices in their future.
This is what parenting the heart is all about. Discipleship learning, or discipleship teaching, is really an extension of being a parent. I draw no distinction between me as a homeschool mum or me simply a mum – both have to deal with the heart. Choosing to keep my kids at home just gives me more hours in the day to be with my kids.
- We need to teach our children to know what is right, and to love what is right.
- We need to teach them to think in line with the Bible, to see the things that happen around them and to discern how those things line up with the Word of God.
- We need to teach them, and enable them to make decisions that are consistent with God’s truths.
- We need to help them grow in godly character – so that our responses to people and circumstances are reflections of the grace and truth of Jesus in our life
- We need to direct them to develop passions and emotions that imitate God’s heart for his creation.
It is easy to be absorbed by the facts and details of knowledge – to know the history of the world, to understand the mysteries of creation, to write persuasively and do numbers correctly but unless those things are done with God’s purposes in mind it is just futility. The most important thing we can do is teach our children to love God’s Word and to live by it – that is the foundation then for every other facet of their life.
The most important thing we can do is to educate the heart: the conscience, the will, the mind, the character, passions and emotions of our children.