Character, Influence & Children – Part 3

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” said the famous philosopher Maimonides. This truth underscores the need to teach people skills so they may become self-sufficient.

But in a world that esteems the strong and despises the weak; I wonder who will teach our children the skills of compassion and empathy? Is teaching a child how to ‘share and play nice’ all there is for them to know to develop good character? Will it develop their moral reasoning or enhance their social skills?

Just because we as a society are so preoccupied with social media, does that mean we should assume the answers to these questions reside in how well we interact with technology? Does technology have all the answers?

Have you noticed now many elementary age kids have access to mobile technology? Many kids have PDAs, tablets and cell phones and they haven’t promoted up from the 6th grade! Do you think the majority of them have developed the good judgment to use technology responsibly?

Do we really want our kids to learn about morality on the Internet?

Or do we just assume they will learn how to use technology responsibly, with balance and care and interact with their friends to learn how to relate in a way that demonstrates they know how to display compassion and empathy for one another – all on their own…

Oh snap! Better wake up from that dream!

As stated previously, we have a limited window of time to influence them, and if we don’t use that time wisely, if we allow unfettered access to the world’s means and values then we shouldn’t be surprised when they become adults who are so different that what we had hoped they would be…flash back to Columbine…

Adults need to model and teach the skills of moral reasoning and how to behave in ways that affirm the rights and dignity of others. Remember this important point: You are either being influenced, or you are influencing someone. There is no exception to this rule…

This means we must have developed within ourselves and settled the issue for how we will live (and be willing to model that before them). Okay- Here is when my post becomes a sermon: For me, I have decided to follow Christ because I have learned that what he said in the bible, in the book of John (John, chapter 14, verse 6) is true.

He said; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” I have vetted this statement in my life to know it is true by my personal journey through the seemingly inexplicable experiences of my life…

And since I have accepted an obvious higher source to look to for my direction, this allows me the comfort of knowing that I don’t have to rely upon myself for guidance. It is also the comfort of knowing that I don’t have to just rely on what someone previously taught to me because my life’s experiences bear out this truth.

And since that is true for me, it begs the question is it true for all? The answer to that question is found in the book of Acts, Chapter 10, verse 34: ‘Then Peter began to speak: “I know realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism” – NIV.

So yes, everyone can know the truth if they seek Jesus. And he is the example we need to follow for character and morality. These attributes all come from a source higher than us because we are carnal beings. We are truly carnal in our weakness, humanity and in our sin nature.

Our carnal nature is the reason we need a new nature (to be born again). Since we are so flawed, this underscores the need to have a source higher than ourselves if we are going to lead and teach our children the values of compassion, empathy, and character.

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Be blessed and have a great day!

WAG Publishing


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