I teach my children character because I believe we need to do all that we can to live good and pure lives, to live in harmony with each other and to not offend God.

Now, we are going to offend God – that is called sin, and sin is when our words, thoughts or actions are not God honouring but rather self serving. Teaching our children character is only going to define good it is not going to ensure that they make the right choices. Knowledge only goes so far.

We can teach them that they have a choice to make, we can teach them what is a good choice but we cannot teach their heart to love what is right. God does that. Teach my heart o God, to love thy word.

Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against thee. Ps 119:11 This is a central scripture for me and how I parent my children. I want them to know God’s word. I want them to love God’s Word and to choose for themselves to hide it in their heart. I can teach them His Word, but it will be their choice to hide it in their hearts and live by it. They have to decide to either follow God, honour Him and worship Him with actions and choices, or the heart will decide to ignore all that, do what will make them feel happy at the moment – that is sin.

Teaching character has nothing to do with being a Christian – teaching character is about moral choices. Teaching our children character will not create kids who will not do wrong – we all do wrong – but teaching them what good look likes gives them a basis to walk in a way honouring to Jesus. Once our children become Christians though – followers of Christ – their good choices will be out of their love for Jesus and their faith in him. We can all show love but it is those who are filled with Jesus love (or faith in His purposes) will be able to love their enemies, turn the other cheek, and forgive 70×7 – this isn’t character that is the power of the Holy Spirit.) Our children will still sin – they will hurt people, make wrong choices, and do things that don’t line up with God’s word (don’t we all?) but the thing is do they know how to put it right? Do they, and will they go to Jesus and talk honestly about the foolish choices they made, will they ask for his forgiveness, will they search his Word to find a way not to sin again? Will they eventually have victory over that issue in their life because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in their life?

So, I see character training as an opportunity to teach how God’s Word looks lived out in our choices – in our words, thoughts and actions and in our relationships with other people and yet it never takes away our need for a Saviour – no amount of knowledge about character can make me right with God.

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