Malachi 4:6 says, “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” From this verse it is obvious that parents’ hearts turned toward their children are important to the Lord Jesus. As Christian homeschooling moms, I expect each of us would say that we have our hearts turned toward our children because the Lord has called us to this job. If our children weren’t our highest priority after our relationships with the Lord and then our relationships with our husbands, we wouldn’t be homeschooling. It seems that homeschooling is a proof to us that our focus is on our children. But I wonder if this is always the case.
I have discovered that having my heart turned to my children involves a choice on my part. Homeschooling certainly plays a role in that. However, I can mechanically homeschool without my heart truly being turned to my children. For me the fruit of a focus on the children is observed through my attitude toward school. Do I look forward to school time as a joy, or do I dread it as an unpleasant task? Do I smile at my children, or is my forehead knit together in frustration with them? Do I speak encouraging words to my students, or do I criticize their attempts to accomplish their schoolwork?
No matter what my feelings are toward school, Scripture tells me that I have a responsibility in what I think about and how I act. The Lord wants me to have my heart turned to my children. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” This tells me that if I am struggling with negative feelings about school, then I can take those thoughts captive and bring them into the obedience of Christ by thinking the truth of God’s Word. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
If I feel down and discouraged, I can choose to replace those thoughts with the truth of the Word. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). If I feel like lashing out at the children rather than using sweet, encouraging words, I can recall, “The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning” (Proverbs 16:21).
What might be other demonstrations that my heart is turned to my children? I believe one would be what I do with my time. Do I always stay busy with housework so that there is no time for the children? Am I prone to sit at the computer rather than reading a book to the children, playing a game with them, or teaching them a productive skill? What I have found in my life is that it is often easier to vacuum or do something at the computer than it is to spend time with the children. When my heart is turned toward myself, I spend my time doing what I want to do. However, when my heart is turned toward my children, I spend my time doing what they like to do with me or what is productive for them.
I want my children to remember a mommy filled with love for them that was evidenced in part by the time she spent with them. I desire that they grow to be adults recalling special shared memories rather than how clean our home was. Don’t misunderstand me. I have time scheduled in my day and week to keep up with housekeeping. That is a part of the responsibility the Lord has given me as a keeper at home. However, I still have discretionary minutes and hours. When my heart is turned toward my children, I will invest that time in them rather than in selfish personal pursuits. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour” (John 12:24-26).
Dr. S. M. Davis says that keeping our children’s hearts is the most difficult task facing Christian parents today and that it should be their highest priority. Keeping our children’s hearts begins with a mom turning her heart toward her children and a dad turning his heart toward his children. May we be moms who know the importance of turning our hearts toward our children. May we continually ask the Lord to turn our hearts toward our children. May we be submissive and obedient to the Lord as He prompts us to turn our hearts toward our children.