Saturday, July 20, 2024

Part 2 of an Interview with Juan and Jeanine Sanchez, Authors of Reaching Your Child's Heart

 

Part 2 of an Interview with
Juan and Jeanine Sanchez,
Authors of Reaching Your Child's Heart

After hearing from parents who are frustrated by their kids’ behavior and exhausted by the world’s wisdom, Juan and Jeanine Sanchez wanted to sit down with parents and encourage them with God’s plan for raising children. As they share their own journey of parenting five children, the authors highlight the importance of a team-based approach to parenting. They emphasize focusing on children’s hearts, rather than behavior modification, and illustrate how daily faithfulness in the routine cares of life is never a waste of time.
 
The authors start by sharing how a parent’s desire for their children should be the same as God’s: that they would reflect the image and glory of God. A parent’s job is to teach them God’s truths and hold them to God’s standard and when they fail, point them to Jesus, the One who gives a new heart and his empowering Spirit.
 
Q: What should our greatest desire as a parent be? What is God’s vision of our role as parents? 
 
In laying the biblical and theological foundation of parenting, we remind parents that God’s desire from the very beginning was to have godly offspring—children who reflect the image and glory of God in all they say, think, and do. 
 
Sadly, because of sin, the image of God in us is marred. Not eradicated, but damaged. Still, God’s desire has not changed. So, God sent his beloved Son, his true image, to save us and over time conform us to the image of God. Our role as parents is to provide an environment of biblical teaching and a godly example in which our children learn about the love of God and the gospel so that the Spirit may use our instruction and discipline to draw them to Christ. 
 
Our greatest desire should not be to have well-behaved children but to have children who reflect the image of God. 
 
Q: What problems do parents run into when they have a child-centered home instead of a parent-directed home? 
 
Let’s admit that having a home run by your children’s desires is an unrealistic ideal. It is pie in the sky. Our sinful tendency is to push for our selfish desires. And when our children are unbelieving and young, they don’t know what they most need. So, why would they be in charge of how the household should run? 
 
Sadly, though, too many homes are child-centered. The child is not only the center of all of life in the home, but he or she has control. At first, when the child is very young, it is cute to allow the child many freedoms. But as the child grows in age and begins to make unwise choices we disagree with, conflict erupts. What ends up happening in many child-centered homes is that the child has been trained that he or she is boss. When we begin to take freedoms away, they object.  
 
It is better and wiser to direct our children at a young age, teaching them to accept our choices for them. Then as they grow, we teach them how to make wise choices. Our aim is to prepare our children to make wise choices as they mature so that when they are adolescents, they can make choices and fail in a safe environment. When we give our children responsibility as they mature and are able to handle such choices, we will more likely enjoy the teenage years rather than dread them. Of course, our prayer throughout is that the Lord would grant them new hearts and give them his Spirit so that their choices are approached with a renewed mind and heart. 
 
Q: What are the basic building blocks of laying a foundation of biblical instruction in the home, even from the earliest age? 
 
As Moses says in Deuteronomy 6, these things must first be on our hearts. Only then may we teach our children. So, first, we must be in God’s Word, receiving the Spirit’s instructions for our lives. Second, we take every opportunity to teach God’s Word to our children—when they wake up in the morning, as they walk along the way, as we eat together, and as we go to bed.  
 
We should read and pray with our children. Establish times when the family reads together—the Bible, Christian books, adventure books. We want to instill in our children a love of reading so that they become lifelong learners. 
Q: In Ephesians 6, Paul warns parents to not provoke their children to wrath. Obviously, Paul wasn’t talking about upsetting your children by taking away their screen time. What ongoing patterns of treatment might stir up anger should parents avoid? 
 
There are a number of ways we may provoke our children to anger, but they are not always obvious. For example, we will provoke our children to anger when we don’t give them boundaries. Children need boundaries and structure. They need to know what to expect. If each day is a new adventure without rhythms and rules, we will frustrate our children. 
 
However, if we are too rigid in our rhythms and our rules are random, not grounded in Scripture, we will also frustrate our children and likely provoke them to anger. 
 
We also frustrate our children when we say one thing, then do another; we are not living up to the standard we have set for them. 
 
Q: What are the most common parenting traps that we should watch out for, regardless of the age of our children? 
 
Toddlers/Preschoolers: Using too many words to try to persuade your child to obey. Train, instruct, and correct. They don’t need the reason why. Obedience should not be questioned.  
 
Middle Years: Being a threatening/repeating parent. Give your instruction and expect obedience, especially if you have trained for it. Don’t get caught in the “If you don’t do this, then I will…” trap.  
 
Teenagers: Not giving them freedoms that correspond to their responsibility. We tend to pull in the reigns during the teenage years, restricting age-appropriate freedoms because we are afraid. Fear-based-parenting is an awful master. This frustrates your teenager and does not draw them into relationship. These years should be full of healthy conversations helping them understand the “why” behind your decisions.  
 
Q: What single piece of advice would you give parents who are entering the often-dreaded teenage years of parenting? 
 
Don’t be afraid of your teenager. Often we don’t do hard things because we don’t want to make them mad or lose the relationship. We are not their friends; we are their parents. God has given us wisdom, and we must steward that wisdom well, at times making hard decisions that are good for our teenagers, even though they may not like it. That’s when having hard conversations in times of non-conflict is helpful, allowing them to share their disappointments with us in respect. Oh, and don’t forget to have some fun with your kids!  

Reaching Your Child’s Heart: A Practical Guide to Faithful Parenting
By Juan and Jeanine Sanchez 
Print ISBN: 978-1-64507-318-5
May 6, 2024 / Retail Price: $18.99
RELIGION / Christian Living / Parenting

About the Authors

Juan Sanchez, MDiv, ThM, PhD, serves as senior pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, TX and is a council member of The Gospel Coalition, cofounder and president of Coalición, and an associate professor of theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has authored numerous books, including 1 Peter for You and The Leadership Formula and is the coauthor of Reaching Your Child’s Heart with his wife, Jeanine.

Jeanine Sanchez teaches English and writing to children and teaches the Bible to women. When not in the classroom, Jeanine enjoys reading, hospitality, watching Florida football, and spending time with her adult children and her grandchildren.

Juan and Jeanine have been married for over thirty years and are the parents of five adult daughters. They live in the Austin, TX area.

Learn more at www.jandjsanchez.com. Follow the Sanchezes on Facebook (Juan R. Sanchez), X (@manorjuan), and Instagram (@manorjuan and <a style="color:#f26631; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline" href="https://trk.klclick.com/ls/click?upn=u001.uRC2i9cbW3C3m9ZBg4sctCtR9UMyshCH4H2W6pRiQkREfsisTe3MpTMA2RYoaPMntUzG4tltfjE7zrqTNTkON7YTWh-2BplpCS18KkH2GPlADa493NNAODlu5gkYoo4XhZi-2FyQidlAB5paiJvHVmoNTmVLb20uTT7MAIRfy2EIArE-3DZrDA_v6-2F-2BXWAAmFIue1kRdz

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Part 2 of an Interview with Juan and Jeanine Sanchez, Authors of Reaching Your Child's Heart

  Part 2 of an Interview with Juan and Jeanine Sanchez, Authors of  Reaching Your Child's Heart After hearing from parents who are frust...