TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN GOD’S WAY
“toys” it will bring into their life—than in having a certain large number attached to a bank account. Yet, if the saying is true that “the goal is to see who can die with the most toys,” then it is equally true that none of those “toys” can be retained by the person past his life- time.
The same is true of power. As with money and possessions, many are obsessed with acquiring more and more power, and this usually involves control of additional and bigger companies, and the wealth they represent, and includes the authority to direct, hire and fire vast numbers of people. It can also mean achieving political power. But all of this gets left behind at death as well.
Related to power is fame, which, like money and power, can even be very fleeting in this life. Yet, when famous people die—and their fame may be outliving them in the minds of people still alive— it certainly cannot be taken into the afterlife.
Next would be talents or gifts, and skills. Though related, these are not the same. All human beings are generally born with talents and gifts but must develop various skills. In either case, no matter how gifted or talented the person is or how extensive the skills be- come, these also get left behind. No one has figured out how to transport them to the afterlife.
Beauty, youth and strength are three additional pursuits that seem to drive the lives of countless millions of adults and growing numbers of children. Finding ways to achieve these things—cosmet- ic enhancements, botox treatments, workout routines, diets—has be- come a worldwide trend and focus. Yet, those who obtain any or all of them are doomed to see them fade even before death, with no pos- sibility of taking them past the grave.
The best definition for CHARACTER I have ever heard comes from Herbert W. Armstrong, the man who taught me much of what I teach you now. It is found on page 138 in his extraordinary book The In- credible Human Potential:
“What is perfect character? It is the ability, in a separate entity with free moral agency, to come to the KNOWLEDGE of the right from the wrong—the true from the false—and to choose the right, and possess the WILL to enforce self-discipline to DO the right and resist the wrong.”
It is your responsibility—your DUTY—to teach your children the absolutely vital, all-important, lifelong pursuit of CHARACTER DE- VELOPMENT. Character forms the greatest defense that a human being
Teaching About All-important Character
can have against every conceivable pitfall, threat, roadblock and hur- dle that life can throw at him.
While this chapter, or even an entire book on the subject, could not reveal and explain everything that a parent must know and teach regarding character, it covers many of the basics, and these set up the balance of this chapter.
The Value of Work
What has been called the “basic work ethic”—once a way of life for whole generations, including most of each generation—has seem- ingly gone the way of the horse and buggy. Today’s generation is much more interested in recreation and pleasure-seeking than in pro- ductive work. Yet, no one has any chance of achieving happiness, success, or any of the basic necessities of life—food, clothing, shel- ter and certain other possessions—without learning at the deepest level that work, and sometimes hard work, is intrinsic to life.
By having to set goals—and working to achieve them—children will develop a proper work ethic and confidence.
Teach your children the lesson of Proverbs 14:23—that HARD WORK EQUALS PRODUCTION, and is directly connected to achieving suc- cess: “In all labor there is profit: but the talk of the lips tends only to penury [NKJV: poverty].”
Also carefully explain to them Proverbs 10:4-5: “He becomes poor that deals with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a wise son: but he who sleeps in harvest is a son that causes shame.” Stress this principle often, and the many scriptures that support it, taking the time to carefully study them with your children, so that they are deeply internalized. Then gently remind them of this principle when they forget it.
These proverbs were written thousands of years ago. Human na- ture has not changed since then. Every human being will still peri- odically be tempted to want something for nothing, and this can in- clude being potential victims of scam artists and “get-rich-quick” schemes. Many today expect to be given things for free—and in this age, it is as though handouts have become a “right.”
For example, third and fourth generations of families that have grown accustomed to receiving welfare benefits typically develop an “I deserve it” attitude. Whenever there is public discussion of government cutbacks, many act as though welfare belonged to them