Saturday, January 26, 2013

A child's heart

Teach your children well ...

It's been awhile since we talked in the public forum about teaching character to our children. Recent decades are marked by the absence of critical focus on the issue.

Character development has perhaps not been adequately addressed at the family and community levels for more than a generation, with attendant outcomes including a progressive tendency to violence at the fringes and dishonesty in the marketplace. The nuclear family and inter-connected community have declined in cultural relevance.

New in our culture, many schools, school districts, and even states are now requiring that character education be addressed in the classroom.  Some are stipulating the traits to be taught.  Is their list a good one?

Government has again stepped in to pick up what the community has been unable or perhaps inadequately aware to address. It's a beginning, I suppose. Government does a number of large-scale things well. Is this one that government should handle on our behalf?

What might be the differences be if this is done by family, by community, or by government? Can government serve as an extension of community?

Interestingly, there are variations among nations and communities when it comes to the character of their children. The wealthiest aren't the most gracious, the most hospitable, or the most generous. Or the most noble. Not by an extraordinary margin.

Perhaps there's a lesson here for the current generation of parents.  And churches.  As busy as life is these days, this is just a small step below breathing in terms of importance.  It shapes the future for our child and what kind of person they might become.