Some families seem to value comfort and ease as top priorities. One almost gets the impression that they live by mandates such as:
- Life should be pain-free and low stress. Something is wrong if there is pain or stress in our lives.
- My children should not be hurt, frustrated, or denied. Consequently, as a parent, I will go to any length to prevent this from happening.
- If we have the money and our children want it, why not buy it now? If we don’t have the money, we may just get it anyway. We will just put it on the credit card and deal with it later.
Contrast this thinking with the mindset that focuses on the importance of developing the character of our children. Families that flourish actually value character over comfort.
Yesterday, I sat in front of a class of first graders. This was the next to the last day of school and I was there to read to them. My wife, Charlotte, is their teacher. She introduced me and then told me (in front of them) that this was one of the finest first grade classes in all of Waco. She went on to say, “These boys and girls love to read!” They all sat on the “reading carpet” while I sat on a tiny chair and read to them. I read. They listened. There was lots of back and forth conversation.
I thought about these children as I left. Each one has an individual story. Each one comes from a particular home with its own story.
Later I thought about how some children are blessed by families who choose to put character over comfort. What a blessing to be reared in such a family!
The following are a few suggestions for being a family that values character over comfort:
1. Choose to bless your family with the knowledge of God. Allow your children the privilege of knowing their creator and their loving Father. Children who grow up knowing and loving God are blessed.
2. Choose to bring both grace and truth to your family. Families need to be places that are safe, secure, and where children can develop good memories. Far too many children grow up in families that are threatening, unpredictable, and chaotic.
Yet, children also need truth. No, I not talking about these families where people run over one another, and hurt one another with words as they are “just being honest.” Rather, I am talking about families where problems are dealt with and resolved instead of being swept under the rug and ignored.
3. Choose to be a family that serves others instead of living for themselves. I spoke with a woman the other day who told me a story about a friend of hers who was going shopping that day to purchase an expensive piece of jewelry. She said that as her friend spoke, she found herself feeling jealous. She wished that she had the money to purchase such an expensive piece of jewelry.
Later that evening, she and her husband had a conversation with a single parent mother who was barely getting by financially. She told them that her commode was stopped up and she didn’t know what to do. They went to her home that evening to see if they could help. Before leaving, they gave $100 to her so that she could call a plumber.
The couple went home that night grateful for what they had. This woman then said, “After this experience and seeing what this person and her children were having to deal with in their house, my jealousy over the jewelry went away. I knew that we had been a part of something that really mattered.”
What kind of daughter or son do you want to produce?
Charlotte and I have experienced much joy in rearing our children. There have been, and continue to be, moments that bring joy. Yet, rearing our children was also difficult and challenging at times. At least some of the difficulty was because we were constantly thinking about the kind of daughters that we wanted to produce. More importantly, we believed that these children had been loaned to us by God and we were responsible to him for the way we reared them. We attempted to take the long-view of things which is not necessarily the easiest.
What do you think is most important about building a family that values character over comfort? What makes this challenging?