Last week I received an email with this title…
Character-building Made Easy!
I actually laughed out loud. Now I am sure that this character building curriculum for home school families is an excellent resource and it may be “easy” to read or “easy”to teach but there is simply nothing easy about building character in life. In fact don’t you think that true character is built and developed through hardships, struggles, pain and times of sacrifice?
….we as parents who say out of our mouths that we want to raise children with outstanding character spend much of or time trying to shelter them from hardship, struggles, pain and sacrifice. Yes, it is true. Think about it.
We want our kids to “have it all”. Whether it is the “stuff” of material possessions or every type of experience from trips and vacations to music lessons, art classes or sports training, we want our kids to have a “better life” than we had. We buy them things, give them all the resources and sign them up for every opportunity instead of allowing them to live without something they desire thus building character qualities of self-discipline, sacrifice, perseverance and gratitude.
We will never accept a less than perfect classroom, teacher or coach. And if things are not exactly how we think they should be, we are the first to march right down to that school office and demand a change. We simply will not consider the possibility that our child will actually learn more important lessons in life from an imperfect teacher, coach or classroom situation. What a great opportunity to develop patience, kindness, acceptance, diligence, respect, self-sufficiency, forgiveness, humility, taking initiative and personal responsibility not to mention they will probably learn much about being a great leader, teacher or coach from watching a poor example and learning what not to do.
We even look for ways to make their lives “easier” by doing chores, work or assignments for them or “lightening their load” during finals week or other stressful seasons of life. We never allow them to fail or as my parents use to say – “make their bed and then lie in it”. If we did they would develop amazing character qualities of hard work, perseverance, diligence and determination.
We make excuses for them instead of forcing them to be responsible for their attitudes and actions thus delaying that all important character qualities of diligence, a good work ethic, honesty and personal responsibility.
And as they get older we do not require them to make their own appointments, meet their own deadlines, work out their own transportation and confront unacceptable situations thus robbing them of the opportunities to build character qualities of courage, responsibility, initiative and maturity.
Perhaps our goal as parents should not be to give our child a “perfect” life free from stress, difficulties, obstacles, pain, hurt or needs. Perhaps it should be to welcome these situations and allow them to teach and train our children (as well as ourselves) to develop godly character qualities that will be of great gain in our lives.
Wouldn’t you love to say about your children and yourself – we are patient, responsible, ethical, grateful, self disciplined, hard-working, diligent, determined, mature, courageous, content, loving, kind, compassionate and forgiving?
If you never go without or are never in need….how do you develop gratitude?
If you are never hurt or wronged…how do you learn true forgiveness?
If you never have to wait or be put off…how do you become patient?
If you never fail….how do you learn to be diligent and an overcomer?
If you are never forced to step out of your comfort zone…how do you become courageous?
If you never experience any pain or suffering….how will you learn compassion?
Character building made easy? Nope….there ain’t nothing easy about it!
2 responses to “Nothing Easy About It”
Dear Sweet Beth,
I agree with this post 100% because our family is a living example of growth of character through hardship, pain and betrayal. Even our best efforts of kindness can back fire if not lead by the Holy Spirit. Always learning to be a grace base family now that trains our kids and allows them to make mistakes and get back up through repentance. Oh we will fail, and we do, but it is good to know that NO MATTER what we will be there for each other and God’s love never changes because of our failures and our love for our kids do not change either. People will fail us but our God will not. 🙂
We learned these same lessons early on – as soon as we moved to the Springs and realized that we were never going to be able to give our kids a “better life” than what we had known, according to the world’s standards. But we also knew that we WOULD be giving them a “better life” by raising them to love and serve the Lord and to teach them that, even tho we didn’t have the best of everything ( in fact, most of the things that we had were hand-me-downs, and we were grateful to get them!), what they had was PRICELESS to their future. Many times they crabbed at us b/c we wouldn’t do their housework or homework for them, but we surely would help them study…and we surely DID insist that they learn to carry their own responsibility for the things in their lives.
In those areas of parenting, we felt like we were raising “wealthy” children! :o)