Part 1: Learning to Delight in Your Children- the Key to their Heart


Note: We originally posted these articles back in 2010. This series became one of the most popular series’ that we posted. However, our old blog began to mix up some of our older articles, and some things were lost altogether in the blog move. So, we thought we would re-post some of our older series’ from time to time, in addition to the new ones to come. 

So, for those of you who may have read these before, I hope you can enjoy them again!

Kasey and MarilynPart 1:

Homeschooling is all about relationships. It’s about math and reading and sentence diagramming and geography and all those things, but all these amount to nothing in God’s eyes if we don’t raise children of character ready to tackle big enterprises for the Lord. If you sometimes feel like homeschooling or parenting is drudgery, you can bet your kids feel the same way. It’s such a temptation to stress out over things like teaching predicate nominatives or the steps of division that we forget to delight in our children and make time to enjoy being with them.

We have found through our now 35+ years of parenting and 30+ years of home schooling that this is actually the key to instilling values that stick and building in your kids a heart for things of the Lord. Foundational to preparing your child to do great things, you need to focus on your relationship with each child individually. When your relationship with your kids is right, they will respond to your attempts to make learning fun.

1. Learning to View Life From our Children’s Point of View

I have 14 children and all of them are different from one another as I’m sure your children are as well. It takes time, quality time, to get to really know your children as individuals. I’ve always liked the imagery of “stepping into the shoes of another”. It helps in raising children to do the same kind of thing. Remember what it was like to be a kid and how certain tones of voice made you feel, or being yelled at (to this day I cringe when I hear parents yelling at their kids)

I remember clearly when my son Tim was a little boy. He was very shy and when he was embarrassed he often dealt with that embarrassment in a way that appeared that he was angry.  One of those times, Rick was about to spank him for displaying anger.  I called him aside and explained my theory. He began to observe and we could clearly see a pattern. He wasn’t angry, just trying to save face. We needed to guide him to do that in a more acceptable manner, but would have wounded his spirit by misinterpreting his reaction as anger.

All this to say, it takes time and wisdom (skill) in learning how to handle our child’s hearts in a proper manner.  (More insight is available in Parenting From the Heart)

  • A good rule is to always aim to treat our children respectfully.
  • We always corrected our children for three things: disobedience, disrespect and irresponsibility. If our goal is to teach our children to be respectful, we must treat them respectfully. I always think, “Would I treat another adult the way I just treated my child?” In some ways, it’s even more important to treat our children respectfully so they can learn to trust us with their hearts. Not that we need to be perfect. Of course we can’t and of course we’ll make lots of mistakes, but our kids are always ready and willing to forgive us when they sense we are truly repentant and have their ultimate best interests at heart.  It’s actually a positive thing when our kids see us fail and we admit it. We are modeling for them what they will need to make use of many times in their lives too. So,don’t be afraid to blow it. You will!  Kids are masters at reading our hearts especially when they reach the teen years and learn that Mom and Dad aren’t perfect after all.
  • When correcting your children, be sure to correct for their benefit, not because you’re mad.
  • Show them how what they did violates Scripture. Always point them back to Scripture. We have a resource that you may find helpful. It’s called Identifying and Dealing with Offenses.  It is a list of Scriptures I used to show my kids how their unacceptable behavior violated a command of Scripture, and teach them what they should have done to handle it God’s way.
  • We always taught our kids why we needed to correct them. We were obeying God to do this verse:

Hebrews 12:11- “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards, it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.

  • Teach your kids to use Scripture as the guidebook for their lives. The Bible has the answer for every problem they will ever face and they need to learn to become skillful in applying God’s Word to everyday situations. For example, Rules for evaluating their speech:

Ephesians 4:29- “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment that it may give grace (desire and power to do God’s will) to those who hear.

or in another version:

“Say only what is GOOD and HELPFUL to those you are talking to and WHAT WILL GIVE THEM A BLESSING.”

More next post…



Latest posts by Marilyn (see all)

About Marilyn

Marilyn is wife to Rick, Mom to 14 children, Nana to 22 grandchildren (and counting!) and homeschooler for 37 years. She and her husband own Character Concepts which they started for the purpose of helping others raise children with a strong, godly character and Biblical worldview.They have developed character curriculum from preschool through high school, based on what they found worked when teaching their own 14 children over the years. Her passion is to help young moms raise kids of character and enjoy the journey!

6 Replies to “Part 1: Learning to Delight in Your Children- the Key to their Heart”

  1. Pingback: Part 3: Learning to Delight in Your Children: Practical Delighting in Another - Character Concepts Blog - Building a Heritage of Character

  2. Pingback: Part 2: Learning to Delight in Your Children - Character Concepts Blog - Building a Heritage of Character

  3. Hi Marilyn, Thank you for this post. It is the 2nd time I have read it, and it is a much needed reminder. I am struggling lately to show my children my delight in them. I am pregnant with baby 7 and am so tired and nauseous. It is important for me to remember that I still need to reach out with love and tenderness to my other children. If you have any tips on ways that you handled the continual job of mothering and home schooling a young family while pregnant, I would appreciate any advice. I’m struggling to keep swimming upstream right now!

    • Caryn,
      I found during those “sick” times it was a great time to teach the older kids to pitch in and help Mom. They can start “investing” in that new little life by being a bigger helper to you. I also found that I felt sick whether I was up and moving or laying down, and I felt better (not physically, but in my heart) if I could keep some kind of schedule going even if some things needed to be put on the back shelf temporarily. It’s better to put some parts of academics or amounts of academics on hold and do more of the sitting together and reading with your arms around the kids or sitting on the swing together or anything where you are spending time with your little ones without the pressure of accomplishing any “extras” but just letting them know you like being with them. There were some days we just didn’t do the academics, but read or talked. Remember the sick days don’t last forever, so don’t put extra pressure on yourself by trying to do everything you normally would do. For me the middle months I usually felt especially well. I know that’s different for everyone, but you will have times again when you can play catch up and really, there is so much busy work in most every curriculum, so don’t feel bound to “finish” every book. You’re in a different “season” so find ways to eliminate unnecessary pressures and focus on enjoying other things together. As the other kids help, they are investing in the treasure of the new baby and learning to “take ownership” if you will. Matthew 6:21 says
      “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” As they invest in helping care for you and baby, their hearts will respond as well. God bless you! The Lord never requires more of you than you can bear and if you are too sick to function, He is working other plans for good in the lives of your little ones!

  4. This post resonated with me on so many levels. Thank you for your wisdom! I’ve much learning and growing in the Lord! Thank goodness He’s still working on me day by day, and He forgives my sin and shortcomings.

    Looking forward to the next post!

  5. Thank you for this lovely reminder! It is so easy to get caught up in home schooling and trying to keep the house in order that we forget to make time to develop deep relationships with our children.

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