Christ-like character is an essential part of being a Christian. Talking the talk is easy, but walking the walk is when we are really tested. One of the most important things you can do for your child is to help them develop Christ-like character. Jesus is our model of how we should live our life, and treat others. In our society children are faced with incredible peer pressure and temptation. Unfortunately, morals and values have taken a back seat. Teaching children to strive to have good character is our responsibility as Christian parents. First, we have to examine our own character and behavior. Do we exhibit love, kindness, courage, patience, and forgiveness? Who are we when no one else is looking? Of course we will fall short because no person is perfect, only Jesus is. But we can make every effort to walk in the path of Jesus, and teach our children by example, what good character is.
What builds up character? Below are some characteristics that we want our character to consist of. We should try to instill these character builders into our own lives so that we can serve God and give our children a good Christian example to follow.
Just as our character is built up by the characteristics that Jesus possessed, there are also character breakers. If any of these characteristics become embedded in your character they will move you further away from God.
- Being Judgmental
- Unwillingness to Forgive
Children watch us closely in all situations. If you are gossiping about Sue’s marriage breaking up and casting judgment on her and your children hear you, they will absorb your actions and more than likely repeat them. You are their example, and a representative of Christ. If children think you are a hypocrite they will not take you or the morals you are attempting to instill in them seriously. I have a relative who is completely turned off by Christianity because of the bad example set by their mother who claimed to be a Christian and was unforgiving, bitter, and judgmental. What we do will mold our children. Here are a few suggestions on helping your child develop Christ like character.
Walk the Walk of A Christian
The best advice I have is to look at the woman in the mirror. Pray and ask God to reveal any area of your character that needs work. Do you need to work on being more patient? Are you unforgiving? What needs done to get your character in alignment with Jesus Christ? Remember you are a blue print for your children to follow.
Utilize Teachable Character Moments
There is nothing like real life situations that get the point across. Look for moments that you can use to teach your child good character. If they had a fight with a friend, explain the importance of forgiveness and apologizing. Give them examples, of how Jesus handled situations. Whenever, there is a character breaker rearing its’ ugly head take advantage of it by making it a teachable moment. These little teachable moments help mature our child’s good character.
Don’t Condone the Character Breakers
One of the worst things you can do as a parent is to turn the other cheek when you know they have done something wrong. Doing this only condones their behavior and you are contributing to building a weak character in your child. Correct them with love and wisdom, and not harsh criticism. Address the situation and tell them why you do not agree with their actions, and make it clear that it won’t be tolerated. A good example of this is lying. If they know they can lie to you they will keep doing it not only to you, but also to others. Set the rules and enforce them.
Encourage and Compliment Christ Like Character
It is important as positive role models that we encourage our children. Don’t be quick to point out their failures and bad behavior. However, make it a point to acknowledge all of the positive and wonderful things they do. A little honey goes a long way. When you notice your child exhibiting Christ like character applaud them for it, let them know that you are proud of them. More importantly let them know how pleased God is when his children are following in the footsteps of Christ.
Pray with Your Children
If you notice one of the character breakers are riding their back, take a moment to pray with them. For example, if they are having a hard time being patient, discuss the issues they are facing, and pray together for the God to improve that area of their character.
God wants us to be faithful followers and possess good character. He gives us our children as gifts. It is our responsibility to teach them his principals and virtues. The world is tough, but if we can give them a good foundation at home then they will be well equipped to face the obstacles that lie on the unforeseen path ahead.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6
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