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Cultivating Character
Theme of the week: How to Raise Successful Children
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

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Key Bible Verse: May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. (Philippians 1:11) Dig Deeper: Philippians 1:6-11

My wife asked our youngest daughter the other day, "What do you think character means?"

Tauvi replied, "It's who you are when no one is looking."

I think my daughter got it right.

Abraham Lincoln once said, "Reputation is the shadow. Character is the tree." Our character is not just what we try to display for others. Good character is doing the right thing because it is right. Dictionary definitions of character usually reflect inner qualities like honesty, loyalty, courage, integrity, compassion, commitment, and devotion.

At times, circumstances reveal a child's previously hidden attributes. Difficult situations cause someone's true character to become apparent.

Here's how the U.S. Air Force Academy defines character: "The sum of those qualities of moral excellence that stimulate a person to do the right thing, which is manifested through right and proper actions despite internal or external pressures to the contrary."

Where does your child learn to acquire good character? The primary place is within your family. School, Scouts, and sports can help, but it is within your family that such attributes are cultivated and refined.

—John Fuller in First-Time Dad

My Response: I will ask one of my children, "What do you think character means?"

Thought to Apply: Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.—Thomas Paine (writer, political pamphleteer)

Adapted from First-Time Dad (Moody, 2011) by permission. All rights reserved by the copyright holder and/or the publisher. May not be reproduced.

Prayer for the Week
Father, forgive me when my expectations for my kids reflect my own definition of success rather than yours; help me to more consistently model for my family what it means to be a sincere Christ-follower.

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