I was once asked how do I know what values to put into our children. My answer was the 10 commandments – I am sure you’ve heard that the 10 commandments can be divided into two parts – our responses towards God, and our responses towards each other. Interestingly, Jesus when he gave us his commands – he summarised as it where the 10 commandments into 2 commandments – that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength and that we love our neighbour as our selves.
Therefore the first thing we need to do is to teach our children about God and encourage them to respond to Him. The second thing we can do is to teach our children how to love each other.
When we look at the different character traits that nowadays are easy to find online (though we use Character First as our base line in our family) most of these have an aspect that affects my interaction with other people. So character training is one way we help our children follow the second part of Jesus’ commands.
The interesting thing is though that unless we love God with our whole heart, mind and soul it is pretty hard to live a life of character (interacting with others in a godly way, ie. Loving one another!) Everyone can love their neighbour but only those who have the help of the Holy Spirit can love their enemy. This is where Jesus takes it up a notch. He doesn’t want us to live good lives – he wants us to live godly, holy lives – living this way can only be lived because of Him and the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling in us.
So though we learn about character it is our reliance on God that makes these attributes a way of life.