This week, I am reminded that when it comes to parenting, we need to address matters of the heart over matters of the head:
“All behavior is linked to attitudes of the heart. Therefore, discipline must address attitudes of the heart.”- Ted Tripp, Shepherding A Child's Heart
Many a times, it is much easier to focus on the matters of the head, especially when it comes to homeschool. It is far more convenient choosing a curriculum to teach Math, compared to disciplining a child who refuses to obey. Teaching academics is straightforward, and it yields tangible results (when the child learns and grasps a concept or skill). This usually happens in a relatively short period of time. In many cases, teaching matters of the head can even be fun, because you get to do all sorts of interesting activities, stuff that you can photograph, stuff that you can write about or share.
But matters of the heart are far more complicated. Working on their hearts takes a lot of time. Many times, you don't see results, and you find you keep having to encourage, warn and discipline. It isn't enjoyable, having to deal with tantrums or disobedience. It gets really tiring. However, these are the issues that matter over learning a subject.
I was encouraged by another homeschooling mum that "the nature of school changes significantly once there is obedience". We need to invest in relationships and obedience starting from young.
So after all that happened, we made the choice to put down our books. We took time to talk. We prayed. I do not know how much of what we talked about actually went in, but I am also reminded about how I am not perfect, and how my children are not perfect either. I am encouraged because while we still fall so so short, we are saved by God's grace, and that is what makes family beautiful: imperfect people loving each other, because we were placed together.
“The gospel enables you and your children to face the worst in yourselves—your sin, your badness, and your weakness—and still find hope, because grace is powerful.”- Tedd Tripp, Shepherding a Child's Heart
PS: For Christian parents who want to read more about discipline, I highly recommend "Shepherding a Child's Heart" (which we quoted from). It has been one of the books that has helped me to look at discipline in clearer light.