Have you ever stopped to think about the fundamentals of building a moral foundation in your child? I think we can all agree that respect, honor, and honesty are the biggies. But how exactly can we determine if our children have a handle on these attributes? The answer: look to their actions.
“The quality of your character and that of your children is best exemplified by the presence of absence of three attributes: respect, honor, and honesty. These are action terms. Having an attitude of respect, honor, and honesty is not enough; there must be an ongoing demonstration of the three,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 90).
Establishing a moral foundation in our children is much more than teaching them what respect, honor, and honesty look like. They must do more than simply understand the basics of these virtues. They need to know how to demonstrate them in their actions.
“Respect, honor, and honesty are critical fibers in the moral fabric of our being. To respect our fellow man is to honor him, and to honor him is to live honestly before him. The parent’s job is to take the intangible concepts of respect, honor, and honesty and make them tangible — to take their abstract meanings and make them concrete. They must show their children what moral truth looks like,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 90-91.)
Leading by example is certainly important in this endeavor. But simply being able to recognize these attributes in our children goes a long way toward making sure we’re fulfilling our duties as parents.
Honestly, it’s not often that I think about my children’s character. I think for the most part, it’s natural to only question their character when we see something go wrong. It’s not often that an action showing respect or honesty will call our attention. It’s simply what we expect. But it’s nice when it does happen.
Recently, a friend commented on how sweet my kids were being with her baby. Not only do I appreciate the fact that they were being gentle with her, but I loved that they were interested in her. Too many kids would simply walk by a baby, completely disinterested. My kids sat with her, chatted with her, and even marveled at her chubby little fingers. Lucas tended to play with her as if she were a doll, but William was interested in her as a human being. And he was doing so in a very respectable, honorable way. It was very sweet just to watch them together.
The next time you’re out, at the park or wherever, just sit back and watch. Do your children show respect, honor, and honesty in their actions? If so, well done!