In the forward of Hearts and Minds, Chuck Colson gives a simple yet profound statement that describes this book,”…Ken and John give parents the basic tools they need to shape the way a child sees God, the world, and their place in the world…”This is an excellent discipling resource for parents to use in helping their children develop a biblical world and life view. Too often, according the authors, parents spend so much time trying to shape their children’s behavior that they forget that is not the most important task. They define the most important task as shaping a child’s heart and mind. And we concur!
The book contains four parts divided into twelve total chapters: Part 1: The High Cost of Parenting; Part 2: What We Believe; Part 3: What We Value; and Part 4: What We Do. Hearts and Minds aims at helping parents concentrate on making godly children, not simply “good” children. The authors write, “Each time a baby is born, the parents have a choice: Will we pass the torch of faith to this child, or will we allow darkness to claim another generation? Unless we parents teach our children about God and pass on a Christian worldview to them, the problems of our society will continue. We can turn the tide if we will courageously take back the responsibility that has been ours all along.”
The chapter dealing with “faith development” is particularly helpful as the authors outline the different stages of faith that leads to maturity and Christlikeness. Ultimately, they maintain that we want our children to own their faith, for it to really be a part of their lives, determining their entire worldview.
This book is a valuable tool because it does not bypass doctrines, philosophy, and theology of the Christian faith, and it is rich in what parents must do to clearly communicate those things to their children. The chapter on the five “w’s” is helpful: Who am I? What is Christianity? Where is God at work? When will God make everything right? Why does any of this matter? Children learn by asking questions and parents need to allow them the privilege of asking and then they need to be prepared to help them with the answers.
One of the valuable things about this book is the authors’ insights into parenting and the needs of children. They write, “Your kids don’t need you to be their buddy, their teacher, or their coach. They probably don’t want you to treat them as peers or involve them in every decision you make. In survey after survey, kids say that what they want from their parents is some parenting. In other words, your kids want you to be the grown-up. Someone’s got to be the grown-up in your house, and it should probably be you.” Both this book and the one above by Colson are a must for parents, youth workers, and teachers. I have three children and seven living grandchildren. I have ordered a copy of both books for those three families. You might consider the same for yourself and others who parent.