Focus on the Family

Parents: Protect Your Child's Heart by Guarding Your Own

Every parent needs a deliberate, strategic and measurable plan to guard his or her child's heart.

by Gary Smalley

For years you have been imparting thoughts and beliefs to your child's heart that actually come from your own heart. Were you raised in a home with no guarding plan? Are you continuing the negative cycle? Here's the great news: You can break any negative, toxic cycle. I did.

My father was a very angry man. I made the decision early on in my marriage and family to break the cycle of anger. Why? Because my children get the overflow of my heart. Many of you grew up hearing your parents make statements such as:

Then, just think of how many hours you and your children have been bombarded with the lies of this world through TV, movies, music, magazines, school teachers, friends, and the list goes on and on.

What messages have been written on your heart? Do you know what negative belief is behind them? What statements from your childhood are you repeating to your children?

Positive Versus Negative Beliefs

Solomon said to "guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23). Your heart is shaped by what you think about all day long. And you alone get to choose what you think about every day.

You can either live in the negative or live in the positive. You can dwell on negative feelings and thoughts of anger, resentment and get-even tactics. Or you can take the words of the apostle Paul when he said, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things" (Philippians 4:8, emphasis added).

You only have two choices. One, you can think like Christ (as in Philippians 4:8). Or you can think like the prince of the world (negative).

You'll have thousands of thoughts every day whether you like it or not. Which would you rather have? Thoughts controlled by the world and the prince of this world or thoughts controlled by God, filled with love and desire to care for people?