A Book Review from Books At a Glance
by Kristin Stiles
Emotions are a natural part of the human experience. Every day we feel emotions and some of them we feel very deeply. This is how God made us. Many times we allow our emotions to dictate our beliefs and actions and as believers, we struggle to keep our emotions from controlling us. We go through all this as adults, but it is also the experience of our children. They, too, feel things and feel them deeply. Their expressions of and reactions to their emotions are often inappropriate. It is our hope that as they mature and as they hopefully come to Christ and then go through the process of sanctification that they will handle their emotions better.
In her book God Hears Your Heart: Helping Kids Pray About Hard Emotions, Christina Fox addresses the very common emotions that children deal with, and she uses examples from scripture and specifically from the Psalms to teach children how they should express their emotions in a way that is pleasing to God. Fox sets up five short vignettes around two children named Mia and Josh. The stories will resonate with any child as they are very common examples of situations that children find themselves in. The emotions that are discussed are anger, disappointment, failure, guilt, and joy. In each case, the child is directed to take his/her feelings to God and show how this is what the Psalmist did, too.
Fox begins her book with a rather lengthy note to the parents which is very informative and helps parents understand the immaturity of children in how they express their emotions and how to teach them to do so properly. This is followed up with a note to the children introducing the characters and emphasizing that all kids go through these types of scenarios. Following the short stories, Fox provides discussion questions that parents can use to go further into the discussion.
This book is very well done and I believe it fills a distinct need that parents have. It’s our default reaction to interpret our children’s behaviors based on our own experiences and to be very quick to make snap judgments followed by snap punishments. Fox calls us to look at what is behind the behavior and address the root of the issue. Then fair judgments and perhaps punishments can be meted out. More importantly, the child can be taught to react to the ups and downs in life in a way that is pleasing and honoring to God. All of this is done within a gospel framework that makes this an especially useful and meaningful book.
Kristin Stiles is a home-school mom, a Sunday School teacher, and helps lead the “Young, Reading, & Reformed” children’s ministry at Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA.
Buy the books
GOD HEARS YOUR HEART: HELPING KIDS PRAY ABOUT HARD EMOTIONS, by Christina Fox