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98

TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN GOD’S WAY

and future friends will be comfortable opening up and confiding in them. Others will be willing to share their personal dreams and aspi- rations (as well as their problems and worries) with your children once they become adults. This will put them in a position to be able to help more people through life.

Teach your children that future employers may need to share highly sensitive information with them. One cannot demand trust from others—your children need to understand that they must be worthy of having such important confidence extended to them. Also explain that they cannot expect others to keep certain things confi- dential if they do not do the same.

All of this means teaching them that they must learn never to gossip. Teach them God hates this practice. Notice just a few scriptures:

“You shall not go up and down as a talebearer among your peo- ple…” (Lev. 19:16).

“But unto the wicked God says, What have you to do to declare My statutes, or that you should take My covenant in your mouth?… You give your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son” (Psa. 50:16-20).

“A talebearer reveals secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit conceals the matter” (Prov. 11:13).

“The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” (18:8).

“He that goes about as a talebearer reveal secrets: therefore med- dle [associate] not with him that flatters with his lips” (20:19).

Those of the World War II generation will never forget the mot- to: “Loose lips sink ships.” This is true in a great many ways. (How- ever, teach your children that there are exceptions, such as if a crime or sin is involved, or if someone will be hurt if action is not taken.)

All children must learn to keep things confidential—to never betray the trust of another human being, particularly after they have given their word. Your children must understand that their word has to mean something—that “their word is their bond.” No one carries this quality innately from the womb. Of course, some children are more naturally given to gossip or to revealing secrets, while others seem more naturally able to keep sensitive matters to themselves. Determine which category your children fall into and nurture them to see what is at stake if they do not learn the all-important quality of trustworthiness in every regard.

Teaching About All-important Character

99

Train Your Children to Never Lie or Steal

The world is filled with people who habitually steal, and who seem to lie about almost everything. (For instance, it has been revealed that 80 percent of all students now cheat in school.) Keeping your chil- dren from joining their ranks is an increasingly difficult task.

Now notice God’s view of lying: “These six things does the LORD hate: yes, seven are an abomination unto Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that de- vises wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brethren” (Prov. 6:16-19).

Every child is born with carnal human nature. Inevitably, this nature will lead the child to consider lying, stealing or other forms of deception. Parents must teach their children—from their earliest years—that these are very serious offenses. If you fail to do this, at best, your children will be dishonest, and, at worst—and this is grow- ing more common in the modern age—you could literally be sen- tencing them to a life of crime!

On rare occasion, find ways to reward your children for telling the truth. Periodically, when they admit an offense—when they tell the truth under duress—refrain from disciplining them, and tell them why. This will serve to teach them not to lie, to instill in them that it was the truth that protected them. And be sure to remind them of this point at key opportunities so that it will become automatic when they are “under the gun” and tempted to lie.

This principle also applies in the following way: If, when con- fronted with his wrong behavior, your child is willing to admit that he is guilty—no matter how serious the infraction—consider reward- ing him for telling the truth. Continue this until the habit is ingrained. This means still admonishing the child to do better, but, from time to time, it means not punishing the child because he or she was willing to “fess up” under examination. Again, your child must come to di- rectly connect the fact that the truth protects him or her instead of the other way around, as most suppose.

However, when your children do lie or steal, punish them im- mediately, sometimes including long-term consequences so they never forget that lying is one of the worst offenses one can commit, and that stealing is also a form of deception. Conversely from the

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