When our oldest was just a couple months old, our small group at church did a study on the family, based mostly out of Proverbs. During one of the lessons, we were encouraged to think through our family’s values and post them in the house.
I jumped on this idea.
From the outset, I’ve desired to be proactive in my parenting, not just reactive. It’s “easy” to react to bad behavior when it’s always in your face. But I wanted to be instilling positive character in our kids as well. Or I should say, pointing them to the Source of the righteousness I desire to see in them.
I don’t want to fool them into thinking that they can be good on their own if they just try harder. They need a Savior. And I make a point to show them my need for Jesus death on my behalf, as well. It’s humiliating and glorious. Anyone else love how often you get to share the gospel as a parent? Our whole life seems to be an object lesson of God’s transforming grace! Love it!
Andy and I decided to call our list “Virtues”. It just seemed to indicate that these eight things are internal qualities of the heart, not just values that we ascent to. Splitting hairs, I know.
Here’s our list with a couple verses that we want to keep grounding ourselves in. The verses I have spelled out, I really want to memorize. While the majority of the list is not in order of importance, the first two are.
1. Treasuring God Most:
Philippians 3:8 “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus.” Also check out Psalm 73:25-26, Colossians 3:4, and Psalm 40:5 See also the rest of the Bible! “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” Piper.
2. Growing In Grace:
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Tied with 2 Corinthians 12:8-9. Pretty much the whole plot of the Bible. I really want my kids to understand not only that they are saved by God’s grace alone, but that as they continue to strive for holiness, it’s only God’s grace working in their life that will accomplish that. No amount of will power and self control will change a heart.
3. Loving Selflessly:
Romans 12:9-10 “Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it…out do one another in showing honor.” MSG Romans 13:10, Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 17:9, 1 John 4:16.
4. Pursuing Wisdom:
Proverbs 4:5-9 “Get wisdom! …Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” More from Proverbs 19:20, Proverbs 17:27, Proverbs 8:35, Psalms 90:12, Proverbs 2:6
5. Respecting Authority:
Romans 13:1-2 “The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted.” Also Proverbs 19:20, Colossians 3:20 and 22. Ephesians 6.
6. Showing Compassion:
1 John 3:17 “But if anyone…sees his brother in need yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” More from Proverbs 21:13, Proverbs 11:24, And Isaiah 58:7-10 is just sweet!
7. Communicating Truthfully:
Psalm 51:6 “What You are after is truth from the inside out.” MSG
8. Living Joyfully:
John 16:22 “And no one can rob you of that joy.” Also Proverbs 17:22, Proverbs 15:15, Proverbs 10:28, Psalm 4:7.
I wish we could have stuck to just seven, that would have been so much more tidy. Ah well!
I have a three year old, I’ll let you guess which virtues get talked about more than others as we go throughout our day. ( #5 and #6 ahem ahem.)
What virtues do you desire to see in your children? How do you bring instruction in those virtues into everyday life?
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