Monday, August 29, 2011

How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids

How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids
  • Rachael Carman 
  • Apologia Press (March, 2011) 
  • 205 pages, Hardcover 
  • $13.00 
  • Written for Parents
This summer was one of reflection for me.  My boys are growing.  They are no longer blindly obedient and trusting.  They have become far more aware of the world around them, and they are forming definite opinions, tastes, and ideas.  I'm setting up guardrails, and they are testing to see if they are firm or not.  I'm pretty sure this is typical of most pre-teens.

I feel sad when other parents throw up their hands, or say, "There's nothing I can do!  All the kids are exactly the same!" or, "I don't know how you do it!  I could never homeschool!  I can't wait until the school year starts again!"

Even when it's difficult, I know my time with these young men is precious.  They were given to me.  I take that very seriously, and have been known to say that raising them is the most important job I have ever done in my life.

When I was given the opportunity to review the book How to Have a H.E.A.R.T for Your Kids I knew it would be the perfect affirmation for me at this time in our lives.  As soon as I read the first sample chapter on the Apologia website, I couldn't wait to read the rest.

The author, Rachael Carman, describes her own journey through parenthood and homeschooling.  In doing so, she reveals how over time, her entire view of her role of mother changed.  She went from being self focused, to truly seeing her children as a trust and a blessing.  Then she outlines how she keeps that loving heart for her children in the hopes of helping other parents, too.

How well do you really know your kids? What has God shown you about who they are and who they will become? He has sent these children into your home at this specific time for His glorious purposes. Indeed, you have been invited on the adventure of a lifetime, a journey on which you will see walls fall, seas parted, and giants slain. You don't need special skills or training for this journey—you need only to seek God and hold tight to His mighty hand! As with so many things, the first step to having a heart for your children is knowing your heavenly Father. As you seek daily to share His heart for your children, keep this inspirational book close at hand.
Using a good deal of Scripture and Biblical Reasoning to make her case, she outlines her plan using the acronym H.E.A.R.T.
  • H - Have a Heart for the Things of God 
  • E - Enrich Your Marriage 
  • A - Accept Your Kids 
  • R- Release Them to God 
  • T - Teach Them the Truth
Each of these points has its own chapter.  The chapters are then broken into smaller pieces.  I chose to take these little bits and reflect on them one at a time.  Then there is a "heart checkup" containing a few bullet points for reflection.

The epilogue is titled Heartfelt Encouragement.  That is exactly what it is.  She writes in a voice that is personal, and the words on the page really did encourage me as the reader.  During the introduction, she states that she takes no credit for the words, that they are from God.  I do honestly believe that a lot of prayer went into this work, and that she prays for those who will come across it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish.  Even the final pages of acknowledgments are sweet.  There were parts that made me squirm a little, because they covered areas where I could be putting in a little more effort.   Even then, her tone is non-judgmental.  She is quite upfront about her own flaws, and I certainly didn't begin reading this book thinking I already had this stuff down pat!   It was worth reading, and I will go back to it again, I'm sure.
Rachael Carman is a devoted wife, a homeschooling mother of seven children, and author of the Focus on the Family book Soundbites from Heaven: What God Wants Us to Hear When We Talk to Our Kids.
Apologia Press is a Division of Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc.   Apologia exists to help homeschoolers learn, live, and defend the Christian faith.  They sell a wide variety of curriculum and reading material for Christian homeschooling families.

Quite a few of my fellow TOS Crew Mates have also reviewed this book.  We will all be posting our reviews this week.  You can find them over on the crew blog.
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As a member of the TOS Crew I was given a copy of this book for review purposes.  I was not paid to write this post and my opinions are genuine.