Today I thought I would share a section from the beginning of my new book, Start with the Heart: How to Motivate Your Kids to be Compassionate, Responsible, and Brave (Even When You’re Not Around). Writing this for you was a labor of love and I’m looking forward to its release on Tuesday, March 5th.
Would you like more motivational power when talking with your children? Would you love to be more influential so they make decisions that honor your family values? Like other parents, I imagine you wish they would want for themselves what you want for them. Read on and react …
Capturing your child’s heart and parenting to keep it may be more important than anything else you do. Your love for your children and your desire for them to trust Christ for their salvation matters greatly. For you to have motivational power to help them make that commitment, mature in their faith, and love God more fully, you must start with their heart.
For your children to want what you want for them, for changes to occur, and for improvements to remain, your hearts must be intertwined. Your motivational power and influence over their obedience comes out of the love you have for each other. This is certainly true when thinking about motivating children. No matter your concerns that surround motivating your kids—moving them from apathy to action, disrespect to respect, self-centeredness to compassion, getting Cs to earning As—you must start with their heart.
Caring more about the quality of your relationship than the quality of children’s behavior allows you to affect their behavior. In contrast, when children think their behavior matters more than anything, they will care less what you think. Your impact will decrease. Prioritizing your relationship is everything. It makes you influential in your own family.
My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. —Proverbs 23:26
What do you think? What was the most challenging part of what you read? What would it take for you to believe it might be true? And I pray you think about this: What can you do in the next few days so your children will know they matter to you – not their behavior – them?