How do we form the heart of a child? Not just behavior or choices, but actual heart change. As parents, we want our children to believe in doing the right thing. We want them to choose to not hit their friend because they love them, not just to avoid punishment. Of course, we still need our kiddos to obey us even if they don’t “feel” like it because, well, otherwise it’s chaos. No momma wants a complaint from the neighbors because little Billy is relieving himself in the front yard again. Behavior matters but if we don’t have their hearts, then what are we doing?
So how do you affect change in the heart of a child? How do you mold the mysterious unseen? My mom used to tell say “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”
Love has to come first because kids can’t learn unless they feel safe and also because, well, momma was right. When a child knows that we like them (and trust me, they can tell), they are so much more likely to listen to what we have to say.
Loving a child is easy when they’re happy and following our plans for our lives, but how we react when they act less than lovely proves to them their place in our hearts. When a child is scared and cries in fear, us validating their fear matters. When we say, “I see you’re scared. I’m here with you,” they hear that they we care. When that child throws a fit, and instead of yelling or correcting, we calmly scoop them up in our arms and breathe slowly, they know that they are safe because we are safe. When they tell us they don’t like us anymore and with a soft smile we explain that we still love them, they learn that our love is unshakable.
This dependability on our parts speaks safety and comfort to them and goes a long way to putting us on the same team. And hey, why not? Aren’t we adults more likely to believe people who like us? Aren’t we more likely to work harder for a boss who praisees us, more likely to follow a leader that cares about us and what happens to us? I know I am. I’m also more likely to believe what they have to say when they say it to me, more likely to open my mind and my heart to what they have to say… Aren’t you?
There’s more than one way to show a child you love them and mold those little hearts. What’s yours? Leave a comment and let us know how you love and mold your tiny human!
Until next time!