by Rick Warren
“It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for … part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” Ephesians 1:11 (MSG)
Our children need to know that the person they become is more important than what they do. Why? Because they won’t take their career into heaven, but they will take their character.
One of the greatest responsibilities a parent has is helping shape their children’s character. What we say and do, how we live our lives, models character to our children. But sitting down with our children and having conversations with them about their character is even more important.
Our children need to know that the person they become is more important than what they do. We spend so many years preparing our children for their future careers when we should be preparing their character. Why? Because they won’t take their career into heaven, but they will take their character.
The book of Philippians tells us, “In your lives you must think and act like Jesus Christ” (Philippians 2:5 NCV). When we do this we are preparing our character for eternity in heaven.
So we need to teach our children that this life is preparation for the next. It’s the “get ready stage”. Our time here on earth with its good times and challenging times is where we learn all of the lessons that grow us up in character to become more like Christ. It’s the time that matures us spiritually so when we get to heaven we aren’t spiritual babies.
We need to talk to our children and let them know life is not always easy, that they should expect to be tested. They will be tested every year of school. They will be tested when they get out of school. They will be tested in their career, their marriage, and in parenting their own children. Every situation they encounter in life, good or bad, will be a character-building opportunity.
“Don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the other. With these qualities active and growing in your lives … no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus” (1 Peter 1:5-6 MSG).
These are the qualities that make up godly character. Take those verses and have your children memorize them so they can begin to work on those areas in their lives for the rest of their lives. If they do, the Bible says they’ll become more like Jesus.