Saturday, February 5, 2011

Goal of Character Training

Goal: To raise children who become adults who love God first, others second, and self last—and who walk this out in their daily lives

Starting Monday! Parenting Paradigms that affect your parenting decisions: Our “parenting paradigms” will dictate every decision that we make in our parenting—from how and whether we discipline our children; to whether or not we teach them God’s Word; to what kinds of peers we allow them to be with; to the numbers and types of activities they are involved in; to what our lives look like in our homes on a daily basis.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What Does Character Training Look Like?

“Normal” / Worldly Parenting                  Character-Focused Parenting

Focuses on me                                                     Focuses on Christ and others                

Teaches self-indulgence                                       Teaches selflessness

Teaches immediate gratification                          Teaches longsuffering

Focuses on frivolities                                       Focuses on things of eternal value

Desires to make children happy & comfortable        Desires to help children learn to deny themselves

Raises children in a materialistic lifestyle            Raises children in a selfless, giving lifestyle

Teaches that others are lower than we are         Teaches that others should always be first

Teaches self-sufficiency                           Teaches that without God, each of us is nothing

Attempts to make child happy                  Helps children learn contentment in all things

Lives for the next thrill                                        Sees thrills and fun as rewards for hard work and service

Teaches minimalism in work and service              Taught to give all—maximum living, work, & service

Encourage children to declare personal rights  Encourage children to realize all belongs to God—        
   and ownership                                                 and we are called to give to others

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where and When Should Character Training Take Place?

Deuteronomy 6: 6 & 7 (NKVJ) points to where and when we can train our children in character:

“…You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

Where: God was instructing the children of Israel to teach their children about the Lord and His ways every place they found themselves! In our times, we could say that we are to teach our children God’s principles at home, out walking and driving around, before bed, when they first get up in the mornings—and any place we are just “hanging out” with them.

When: God was instructing the children of Israel to teach their children about the Lord and His ways all day and night! In our times, we could say that we are to teach our children God’s principles anytime we are with them (which should be often to get all of these locations and times of teaching in!)—when we are at home together, when we are out and about, when we put them to bed, when we get them up in the mornings—and any time we are just “hanging out” with them.

Our associate pastor calls living the Christian life with others “doing life together.” In that sense, we should teach our children God’s ways while we are “doing life together” with them. I think it probably makes God sad to see the small amounts of time that we often spend with our children. I mean, it seems as though He planned for us to “do life” with our kids a lot—and teach them as we went along.

Another verse that sheds light on our teaching our children about living for God is found in Isaiah 28:10 (KJV)—“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little.”

When we spend a lot of time with our children—and when we see our role and responsibility in raising our sons and daughters for God—we will have opportunity to teach a little “here” and a little “there”—we will build “precept upon precept” on the previous “mini lessons” that we have taught them. And character training will be a way of life for us as inferred in God’s instruction to the children of Israel.

Why Train Children in Character and Biblical Living?

It is written in the Bible! Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “train up a child in the way he should go.” (We will study that verse in more depth in the coming weeks.) Ephesians 6:4 tells us that children are given to us to “raise in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

And then there is an interesting verse in I Timothy that tells us that training our children in our homes is actually a pre-requisite for leading in the church. I Timothy 3:4 says, “He (an elder) must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.”

We are following the Lord’s admonition to raise our children for Him when we train our kids in godly character. Furthermore, we are learning how to lead others—and qualifying ourselves for leadership in other areas (specifically in the church). That’s why we should train our children in godly character and biblical living!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Why Train Our Children in Character—How It Began for Us Twenty-Seven Years Ago

Twenty-seven years ago, when we had a little one year old son and were homeschooling my junior high sister, we went to our very first “character” training workshop by Ron and Rebekah Coriell. It was a one hour session at a homeschool seminar. The Coriells were an amazing family with three sweet, adorable little girls who recited verses and character traits with so much charm they just melted the listeners’ hearts. And they definitely melted mine.

The thing I remember the most about that session was a story that Rebekah (the mother) told the group about her little seven year old. This daughter was in line for lunch at her Christian school when she told her friend that she wished she could have chocolate milk that day instead of white milk, but she could only have chocolate one day a week and she had already had it that week. Her friend encouraged her to disobey, saying, “Your mom will never know.”

And this little girl’s answer was the beginning of my desire to raise children with godly character: “My mom will not know, but God will.”

The Coriells had built within their daughter a significant “moral bank”—a place where deposits of biblical training and character lessons were frequently made. A bank of which this little girl had learned to draw from in various scenarios—even at the young age of seven years.

And thus began my twenty-seven year quest (so far!) to train my children in godly character and virtue. To attempt, with God’s help and leading and my husband’s partnering, to raise sons and daughters who understand that God always knows—and even moreso, to desire to please the God who knows with their life choices and character.