Seems like a silly question, doesn’t it? Every parent loves their children. We all want what is best for them. As Christians, we all want them to grow up to make the choices God wants them to make throughout their lives. We absolutely want all of our kids with us in Heaven for eternity.
Yet sadly, our day to day parenting choices don’t always reflect what our hearts say we want for our kids. We don’t always parent with our hearts. Stephen James and Chip Dodd wrote Parenting With Heart: How Imperfect Parents Can Raise Resilient, Loving and Wise Hearted Kids to try and address the issue.
The author’s premise is that you don’t have to be perfect to be a great parent. The book is divided into two main sections. The first addresses all of the attitudes that can keep parents frozen, preventing them from doing the things their kids need. As you can imagine a lot of this section deals with issues from your own childhood and attitudes about perfection.
What was a bit unusual is that the authors spent time on topics like being honest about how deeply you love your children and how much pain there will be if something goes wrong in their lives. I have read a lot of parenting books and I can’t say I’ve ever read much about the topic. But it makes sense.
Often parents are frozen into inaction because they don’t want to hurt their child. Yet, your child is going to be hurt because we live in a fallen world. Accepting that they will get hurt and you will hurt for them can free you up to do all of those hard things that are in their best interest.
The second half of the book is focused more on how parents should share or open their hearts to their kids. I would even say how parents should go in search of their children’s hearts. To me this section had more practical information that applies to every parent. There is nothing earth shattering here, but the authors’ story telling style may make readers who haven’t accepted some important aspects of healthy parenting, more ready to try them.
The book is an easy read and has lots of good material in it. The authors’ make solid cases for most of what they suggest parents do. This is a Christian book, so God is brought into the discussion quite frequently. This is not set up to be a Bible study and while some scriptures are quoted, you would probably need to add a few more for it to reach the Bible study level.
The authors do provide some really good thought questions at the end of each chapter. A lot of them involve doing something in addition to just thinking about what you have read and asking yourself a few questions. I like that concept, because hopefully those actions will help readers start doing some of the things they need to be doing as parents.
As with any parenting book, there are some things I would have advised a bit differently, but overall the advice they give is solid and practical. This book would be particularly good for parents who seem frozen because of issues in how they were parented or because they are too afraid of making mistakes. For other parents, the second section will provide a lot of solid parenting advice.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.