Monday, November 9, 2009

Book Review: Heart of Anger

The Heart of Anger
Practical Help for the Prevention and Cure of Anger in Children
by Lou Priolo
Ⓒ1997, Calvary Press
197 pages (inc appendices)

My wife read the book first and recommended I read it too. Not just for the practical application in our home (there's plenty) but also because she saw it as an encouraging application of biblical counseling principles. We have both received a (limited) amount of nouthetic training, but at times, we are still feeling quite lacking in the "how to's." Nothing like parenting to make you feel lost in the world of "how to."

I found the book to be quite encouraging and convicting. It showed me ways that I violate Ephesians 6:4 often (provoking my children to wrath) without ever intending to. However, the text does not say I should not try to provoke them, but that I should not do things that do provoke them. I first had to learn to see my own anger issues and work through them.

Second, I was challenged about responding as a fool. It was humbling as he spelled out how a fool responds to correction, and to see yourself in those responses. Doubling humbling was when the author identifies how children respond like a fool, and to show how parents respond in like fashion. What puts this book above so many others, is not just that it instructs you to respond to a fool--but not in his foolish way--it also gives you biblical instruction for what an appropriate response would look like.

Most important, however, was the author's emphasis on the gumnazo principle. Gumnazo is a transliteration of the greek, a work from which we derive "gymnasium." I was convicted to see how often I correct our children for poor actions/attitude, but do very little to help train them toward a better response. The author does a great job of showing you how to engage situations (with real life illustrations) and seek to teach and train in the midst of the correction as well. I suddenly realized how one-sided my training had become and how ill-equipped my children are if I just keep pointing out what is wrong without pointing them toward what was right.

Amazing thing: While this method is more effort (and time), it actually helps you parent less out of anger, and more out of shepherding concern. When I parent my children more faithfully through their anger, it actually helps me not be so angry in the process!!!

Charity and I love Shepherding A Child's Heart and recommend it to many parents. I think Heart of Anger works as a great compliment to Shepherding by reinforcing those principles with more "how to" information.

I'd recommend the book to any parent, whether you think you have an angry child or not.

1 comment:

tigerballonline said...

am going to go buy this book on amazon right now, thanks