“Point your kids in the right direction—when they’re old they won’t be lost.” Proverbs 22:6
No one was ready for what occurred on January 12, 1888, across the northwest plains of America. In the days leading up to that fateful January day, the weather had been mild and unusually warm for the region. The morning of January 12th began with many one-room schoolhouses full of lively children bursting with energy and the desire to head outside to play in their school yards. Suddenly, the temperature began to plummet—eventually falling by 100 degrees! Snow began to fly and the School Children’s Blizzard began to cover the fields with a blinding white. Unprepared schoolteachers made the mistake of sending children home before the worst of the storm descended, resulting in many deaths. One teacher, Lois Royce, would lose both of her feet due to frostbite as she tried in vain to save three of her students. Minnie Freeman had more fortune with her class—leading them to safety after the roof was ripped from their vulnerable schoolhouse. In all, 235 people perished that day–most of them were children.
No one can prepare for something as unforeseen as a sudden, blinding snow storm. Had the children’s parents and teachers been aware of the impending danger, they would surely have seen that the children stay in the safety of their own homes that fateful day …
The same is true for parents in today’s world. We cannot prepare our children for every situation they may encounter as they venture out on their own. But we can help their journey by equipping them with inner strength and character. Will your children have the character qualities they need to live successfully in the world?
There are many areas of life that require our help in pointing our children in the way that is right. Often, when we think of success, we think of a fulfilling career, a happy and healthy family, and even the realization of our dreams. These are all valuable goals and areas where we can help our children find success; but helping to shape our children’s inner character can sometimes take a back seat to these more visible areas. What can we do to help “point our kids in the right direction” where character is concerned? Consider the following:
- Kindness: sadly, our world is often anger-driven. We must teach our children by example, showing kindness to others by treating them in the manner in which we wish to be treated:
“Whoever sows sin reaps weeds,and bullying anger sputters into nothing.” Proverbs 22:8
- Respect: perhaps nothing is more lacking today than respect towards others. We must first teach our children to respect us as their parents. When they learn respect at home by our example, they will show respect to teachers, authority figures, and their peers:
“The payoff for meekness and Fear-of-God is plenty and honor and a satisfying life.” Proverbs 22:4
- Self-control: delayed gratification is a lost art today; no longer do we need to wait for what we want. Teaching our children to wait for things whether they be purchases, goals, or success, is an invaluable trait that they will need throughout life. Learning to wait patiently for a desired thing will protect them from the danger of dissatisfaction which can lead to foolish, hurried decisions:
“Young people are prone to foolishness and fads;the cure comes through tough-minded discipline.” Proverbs 22:15
- Integrity: Others will know us by how we choose to live. Our children will gain a reputation, based on their words, attitudes, and behaviors, and it will follow them wherever they go—affecting all areas of their lives:
“A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich;a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank.” Proverbs 22:1
The world often pulls our children in many directions—it does not have their best interest at heart! Preparing our children for life is a challenge with many turns in the road. And like that blinding blizzard of long ago, it can be hard to see which direction is right. But God’s Word is there to guide us—lighting our way …
Are you aware of areas listed above where you need to focus your attention with your children? What can you do to better prepare your children for life in today’s world?