Character training is not a simple process. To the contrary, the moral education of children in today’s social environment comes with many more diverse challenges than in the past generations, especially for those who embrace the virtues and values contained within Christianity.
There are motivational challenges. Why should parents diligently train their children to be kind, considerate and caring when so many parents are letting these virtues slip by? There are peer pressure challenges. How should parents respond to friends and relatives who feel “uncomfortable” around children whose “good” and “consistent” behavior challenges the status quo of their own parenting?
There are moral inconsistencies within Christianity to deal with—not an inconsistency in acknowledging common virtues, but rather an inconsistency when it comes to application. Clearly not everyone in the Christian community shares a like-minded commitment when it comes to moral training of their children.
The mechanics of moral education also present challenges. How do mothers and fathers actually teach moral truth? How can they make virtues and values meaningful to children? And once taught, how do children acquire the moral initiative needed to follow through on their beliefs? There are the cultural challenges. Parents must stay vigilant of the many moral inconsistencies confronting children each day. Hollywood serves up a culture of death, network TV exploits their innocence, and the Internet is sophisticated enough to identify their secret desires and prey on their weaknesses.
Yet, in the end, the refinement of a child’s character is largely the product of Mom and Dad’s direct influence. Unless that influence is willfully surrendered to outside forces or sacrificed to life’s busy demands, children will reflect the moral lessons of their home life. Whatever character qualities are tossed aside or devalued at home will be devalued by the child. It is a simple fact of parenthood—if something is not important to Mom and Dad, it will not spontaneously become important to the child.
Yes, moral education is complex and challenging, and society continues to add more challenges to the mix. Yet, we are persuaded by the goodness of God that He has not left us without hope or a way to address the challenges. By intent or neglect, parents are still the greatest influence on their children’s outcomes, and raising morally-sensitive children, whose conduct brings life to the moment, is not a matter of chance, but of intentional parenting. It is not for the faint-hearted, but for those who persevere every day, even in this age of moral diversity.
This article reprinted from www.growingfamiliesusa.com website.