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What Many Parents Forget

Too many parents are more concerned with their child’s IQ than with CQ—character quotient. In the end, the character of your kids will provide the foundation for their lives.

By Dennis Rainey

The Great Wall of China is one of the great wonders of the world, a true masterpiece of engineering. I’m told that six horses could trot side by side on top of it. I’ve walked on it, and I was amazed to see this massive structure snake its way through the mountains.

China built the wall to protect it from invasion. But in the first 100 years after the wall was completed, enemies invaded the country three times.

Do you know how?

The invaders didn’t go over the wall. They didn’t smash holes through it or burn it down.

Instead, they bribed the gatekeepers. While China was building this amazing defense system, it neglected its children by failing to build character in their lives—the type of character that could withstand temptation.

I think of that story whenever I hear parents talk of the dreams and goals they have for their children. Many parents today are vitally concerned with the education their kids receive and the skills they develop. They shuttle their kids to school and to various extracurricular activities. They look forward to the day when their children will enter the working world and establish successful and lucrative careers.

One thing is often missing in these dreams and plans, however: Character development.

A foundation for life

Too many parents are more concerned with IQ than with CQ—character quotient.

In the end, your child’s character will provide the foundation for his life. I believe the leadership crisis we are facing in our government, in our businesses, and in the church are all traced back to this issue of character.

As Omar Bradley, the famous World War II general said, “We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.”

Do you realize the power you have as a parent? When you help raise children with godly character—children who will follow Christ and withstand the pressures of the world—you are helping shape the world in the next generation.

Building character into a child means building patterns of behavior to respond properly to authority and to life’s circumstances. As 1 Timothy 1:5 tells us, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

Why does character matter?

Responding to authority is important because we all under the authority of Christ. A child must learn how to submit to God in every area of his life. A proper response to life’s circumstances means showing your children how to walk with God so he will display the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience—no matter what they face.

Character is what will help your children keep within their budget as an adult.

Character is what will lead them to turn to God in a time of hardship and pain.

Character is what will help them pursue his spouse to resolve a major conflict in a loving manner.

Character is what will enable them to make that extra phone call or work that extra hour to do their job right.

Character is what will direct them in times of material prosperity and in a financial crisis.

And character is what will give them the strength to keep their mind and body pure when everyone in the world and everything within them says, “Just give in to that temptation. It won’t hurt you.”

Let me suggest two essentials in building this type of character in your children:

1. Make a commitment to be involved in teaching your child