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Train Up a Child: What standards have you set for your children?

It is impossible to lead someone unless you know where you are going. Parents need to decide early on what kind of adults they want their children to become and make every effort to raise them to meet those standards. It would seem, however, that many parents have a “wait and see” attitude and think that they are observers to see what their children become. That is a poor way to raise children because human nature would cause each person to follow instincts for self-pleasure rather than develop self-discipline to become the person God planned.


Parents need to set standards for behavior of children that would include, among other things, respect for others, proper language and dress, and good manners. These things do not come automatically and children will not gain them from places other than the home.


Respect is an attitude.  Attitudes are often caught as well as taught. 


Unfortunately, we live in a time of the slogan, “If it feels good, do it.” This is not God’s way. Our freedom ends when it affects someone else’s freedom. Respect for others gives an individual the ability to sacrifice one’s own pleasure to ensure the freedom of another person. When I taught GED, I required my students to remove their caps in the classroom, not because of my personal liking, but because I want them to learn to respect the teacher and the class as a whole. It is sad to see many men who do not remove caps when our national anthem is sung. Children often don’t know which hand to place on the heart for the Pledge of Allegiance and will slump or whisper and talk while it is being said. Sometimes children continue to talk even during a prayer. These things should not be.


Children should be taught to dress neatly and modestly. When children dress sloppily, it is like saying that they don’t care about what other people think. The “don’t care” attitude is not an attitude of respect.


Children should be taught to speak nicely to all adults. Backtalk should never be allowed, but children should be taught to express differences of opinion in a nice tone of voice and in a nice way. Listening to others is a form of respect. Interrupting is a form of disrespect for the opinions of others and their right to express those opinions.


What kind of words do your children use? Are they allowed to use street talk and swear words? My mom used to say, “Some people live in the gutter.” There are nice ways to express disappointment and frustration without using bad words. Children have to hear these words someplace to be able to say them. Hopefully they are not hearing bad words from parents. It is too bad that many seem to have ignored one of the Ten Commandments telling us not to take the name of the Lord in vain. God’s name should always be spoken with respect.


Manners are a reflection of presence or lack of presence of respect for others. The basis of all good manners is kindness and consideration of others. 


Parents set the standards for their children. It takes effort and constant caring to raise children to become good God-fearing citizens. It does not happen automatically.

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