Developing God's Character in Children
Updated: Apr 21, 2021
They are God’s kids first. He created them and has a plan and purpose for the character qualities He has placed and is working in them.
Psalms 119:13 – 17 says:
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
God made each one of us. He knows what inspires and speaks to our hearts. Take comfort in every gift, character quality, and talent divinely placed in your child by Almighty God. If he put it there, He has a purpose for those qualities. God has precious thoughts toward your child. Trust Him. He is always working in them, developing His character. Hold fast to this truth even when your child does things you don't agree with or understand.
Children need affirmation as well as discipline.
Children need to know what they are getting right, and you see the good qualities in them. We all respond to positive reinforcement over criticism. Children do as well. It does not mean you should not correct, but they should hear more often the good you see rather than the faults you find. Correct the performance while still praising the performer. The affirmation can come through discipline.
A foundational verse for our family was Ephesians 4:29:
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”
Catch them doing things right and praise them for it. This lays the foundation for when discipline is required. Of course, the key is in how you discipline, with love and believing the best. Always include phrases like:
“You’re better than this.”
“I believe in you.”
“How could you have handled this differently?”
“This is not who you really are. You are ____________ (state the positive).”
Call out the positive character qualities you want to see them develop.
If the character quality is self-control, tell them you are a young girl or boy of self-control. I see this quality in you. I realize you might be speaking by faith but let them hear you. We did this with our youngest, and today he is a man of self-control and self-discipline in all areas of his life.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Pray for your children and believe God even when you cannot see the desired result. Love never fails. (I Corinthians 13:8).