Why Heart-Focused Education?

Thanks to the Mudd family @welcometoourcabin.

Why focus on the heart?

Most of us our familiar with the verses, in Deuteronomy 6, which instruct us to Love the LORD our God with all of our hearts, souls, and strength. These verses are a holy mandate given to the Hebrews, God’s chosen people, regarding the passing on of the faith from one generation to the next. Why did God take the time to spell out the exact method of teaching the children? Probably because He knew our human tendency to worship anything BUT Him. He knew the ability of the human heart to wander – even after He had proven Himself over and over. He also knew that nothing else they could set up as an idol would ever fill the longing of their souls or the souls of their children – the longing of any human soul, for that matter. He knew that each of us is born with an innate longing for fulfillment somewhere deep inside. Whether we recognize it or admit it, we all have a soul-yearning to live from a place of completion, through connection to the God we were created to worship. Although many of us do not understand what it is we are feeling, this longing for connection exhibits itself as a searching for our identity…for what will complete us and satisfy the yearning.

From a young age, we reach into ourselves and out into the world, looking for what is going to satisfy our spirits, souls, and minds with peace and truth. The JOY we crave is not an emotion or a feeling, though; it is a byproduct of knowing Jesus as our Savior and our King.

The answer to that deepest longing is Jesus – the One who IS our connection to God.

The realization of this soul-yearning and its effects on our lives has become both the foundation and purpose of my work.

My “why?” can be summed up in “my one thing.” (Psalm 27:4) To know God and to make Him known.

Let me tell you a little of the story that led me to that place.

As a child, my life was full of darkness. The kind of darkness that shutters the mind, torments the soul, and shreds the heart. This darkness came from the lies, abuse, neglect, and manipulation that determined my existence for the first 17 years of my life.

When God rescued me from that place of darkness and began to bring me into the light of His truth, love, grace, and mercy, He began to show me who He truly is. As He healed me and set me free from the lies that had formed who I was as a child, He also brought peace and joy to my heart and light into my soul. The journey that He has brought me on, over the last almost three decades, is almost indescribable.

He has used His Word to renew my mind, fill me with TRUTH, and set my heart on fire to share His love to those around me. The pain I went through as a child has given me an insatiable desire to reach into the life and heart of every child I encounter, in order to help them find the joy, hope, and peace that only a foundational knowledge of God’s love and acceptance of them can bring.

I want them to know that God is the One who created them…and He is GOOD and the plans and dreams He has for them are GOOD and special just for them. I want every child to know that they have been given a gift of learning and exploring the beautiful world around them, and I want to give them learning materials that nurture that gift. But mostly, I want them to know that God created them for a relationship with Him, and that He is the only One who can fill their hearts, minds, and souls with the peace and joy they long for.

The wonderful promise found in Matthew 6:33, is astoundingly true. When we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, He abundantly adds everything else we need. I know from experience that a mind and heart trained to hear and obey His voice is also a heart that understands academic information and concepts more easily.

Although my educational method is focused on the heart of the child, it also involves the heart-focused encouragement for the children’s mothers, because I’ve been one of those too.

I’ve been completely exhausted, overwhelmed, and insecure in my ability to be the kind of mother my children needed.

I’ve been the one who wanted to run away and hide rather than face one more day with the tribe that was looking to me for nurturing and guidance…neither of which I was very good at delivering on a regular basis. I’ve been the one that sobbed into my pillow in utter and complete despair. Oh yes, I’ve been there so many times.

So, you see, my educational method had to address the heart of the weary mama too. It had to reach into her heart and assure her of the adoration her Savior has for her. It had to take her by the hand and walk with her through the hills and valleys of the journey in front of her. It had to encourage her to seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness. It had to reach through the pages of the curriculum and studies to embrace her with the truth of God’s opinion of her and the truth that she is not alone.

I know that we are created for relationship and that we learn best that with which we form a relationship. This relationship aspect is the foundation of my educational method which I use in all of my teaching, coaching, and curriculum development.