In the late 90's, Dr. Thomas Stanley of the University of Georgia set out to research and discover the traits of the top leaders, innovators and achievers in various professional industries. Dr. Stanley's goal was to find out what made these achievers different then the rest of the population and how we too could be more like them. Dr. Stanley's colleagues initially thought Intelligence (GPA), Top College Attendance and Luck would rank among the top factors for these achievers success. But these factors did not even make the top 10 list.
After thousands of interviews, Dr. Stanley discovered that a person's intelligence (Most of the subjects were B and C students), college attendance nor luck had much to do with their overall achievement. Almost all of the top 10 factors cited by thousands of these achievers and leaders were character traits learned in the home or through life experience and work.
Therefore (according to Stanley's research) if we as parents want to truly give our children an advantage in life, we should focus on modeling and building character into our children each and every day.
In this series we will explore 6 ways we can build character into our children on a daily basis:
#1 - Faith
Hebrews 11 describes faith as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Faith becomes a character trait when it starts to manage our children's day-today choices while providing moral leadership. Too many Christian children today are learning to play church and religion rather than learning faith and trust in God. Sadly, parents are often the culprits behind this shallow faith. As parents, we love our children and desire to have them right with Gd but we must be careful to let God draw our children to Himself and His time table. Many Christian parents try to circumvent the power of the Holy Spirit by forcing their faith on their children out of the fear that they are not yet saved.
Research by the Fuller Youth Institute discovered that many Christian children are simply going through the motions to appease mom and dad's wishes rather than fully embracing Christ and developing their own faith. This leads to many Christian children who have the appearance of being saved but ultimately they end of leaving the faith once they leave mom and dads house.
As parents, we must model our faith and expose our children to Christianity but not push them too hard for immediate results. Prayer and the consistent practice of our own faith will model and prepare our children's hearts to place their faith in Jesus Christ when they are ready and when they have made the decision for themselves.
I'd rather have patience and see my child come to know Christ in High School on a missions trip, of their own volition and through the power of the Holy Spirit, then to run them up to the altar when they are 8 years old and ask them to give their hearts to Christ. The Fuller Youth Institute learned that quite often, children are putting their faith in their parents faith not in Christ.
Here are six ways to build faith into your child on a daily basis:
1. Read your Bible daily and let your children see you spending time in the Word and in prayer.
2. Pray regularly at meal times and bedtime but also spontaneously (a homeless man on the street, when passing a car accident, with someone going through life struggles) to illustrate the power of prayer to your children.
3. Lead your children in a weekly Bible study and talk about your faith and the teachings of the story. My family is currently watching The Bible miniseries that came out last year and discussing each story afterwards.
4. Show your children your family tree and talk about relatives and their faith. If you are a first generation Christian, talk about how all your ancestors after you will have glory in Heaven because of your decision.
5. Have your children listen to the testimonies of friends, family, and other adults and how it has impacted their lives.
6. Take your children on an outing or sports event that involves faith in other people or equipment. illustrate how trusting in God is the same as trusting in the equipment or people.
Stay tuned for our next trait: Integrity