As I sat on the edge of my almost 13yo son’s bed I could see his face was solemn. He’d been at the Air Cadets that night and came home a little withdrawn and thoughtful. I accompanied him up to bed and give him a goodnight blessing, young hearts are often more open at night when all is quiet and busyness of the day is ended. So, tired though I was I knew he might need to offload some heavy thoughts. “Mum it’s not like Narnia, these boys aren’t like Edmund who realised he’d done wrong and wanted to be made right again, these boys are cruel and mean and the leaders turn a blind eye”. My heart hurt for him but I was also so deeply touched by the power of story in shaping his thoughts, I was blown away actually! He went on to decide not to stay on after the six weeks induction, not a small thing as he’d wanted this dream since he was five. I honestly felt more sadness at his decision than he did but I was incredibly proud that it was based on his own heart’s leading and that he felt he couldn’t thrive in such an environment. My little boy was becoming a man.
I just finished watching Nathan Clarkson’s live stream on Facebook which he did with his mum Sally in anticipation of Nathan’s book release May 5th - A Good Man. I am encouraged afresh that shaping your child’s heart is a marathon of building one brick at a time, over time and through much repetition. I drew this little picture 4 years ago as a visual reminder of the years I have to invest into shaping my children’s hearts. It is so tempting to feel faint, discouraged and want to give up. You read them stories, share thoughts, attempt conversation and are often met with blank expressions or disinterest. Don’t be put off, it is going in! Push through the rolled eyes and groaning because with the right stories you’re shaping your children’s hearts towards the adults they are becoming. Stories and characters are a rehearsal for life.
I’m going to compile a list of books my now 15yo teen son has read or is reading and post it here in the coming week, maybe I can persuade Jennie to do a Quarantine Diary 6 about it?! I’d love to know of any you recommend so drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you! And please go check out Nathan and Sally’s livestream on Facebook on Nathan or Sally’s account, they have some wonderful book recommendations too. If you are also looking for an extensive curated book list of life-giving and heart shaping resources you can't go past Sarah Clarkson's books Read For The Heart, and Caught Up In A Story for a foundational philosophy in story, imagination and heart formation. I really could praise the whole Clarkson family when it comes to this area as Sally and Clay are such influencers, but I shall save that for next time!
Pre-Order A Good Man by Nathan Clarkson
Caught Up In A Story by Sarah Clarkson
Read For The Heart by Sarah Clarkson
Sarah Clarkson's website, Thoroughly Alive
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis