Character is so lacking in our culture today. Really, it’s more important to train your children in godly character than in any of the academic subjects. It is, in fact, a solid cornerstone for life. God seems to make a way for those who have learned to intentionally strive to build godly disciplines into their lives. Knowledge alone ‘puffeth’ up. (1 Cor. 8:1) Character, unfortunately, doesn’t just happen. It must be taught and cultivated. Children need to learn practical handles to apply it to situations they face day to day.
For years I have been distributing a handout called Identifying and Dealing with Offenses to moms wherever I speak. It is a list I made from observing the negative character traits in my own 14 kid’s lives. As I would see a problem area crop up, I went to the Scripture to see what the Word had to say about it, and then I made up short answer questions for the kids to use to help dig out the treasures of God’s Word concerning each issue.
Through the years, moms asked me to develop a study to make it easier for them to use, hence—Growing in Wisdom.
In this study, you can feel free to start wherever you wish in the book, especially if your child is struggling with a certain character deficiency. Each day, have your child answer a few of the questions. Allow them to move at a pace that is right for them. Some children will move faster than others, but the main focus should be understanding what they are learning and applying it, not just completing the questions.
Use the companion flashcards for reinforcement: to drill the negative trait, the corresponding positive character quality, its definition, and Scripture verse and insight provided on the back side of each card.
As your child learns what God’s Word says about both, the natural tendency and the godly response, he/she will learn to “exchange their thoughts for God’s thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
God’s Word tells us in Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
This, then, is the purpose of Growing in Wisdom—to train young people to trade in their natural thoughts for God’s thoughts on the matter. As they learn to meditate on God’s Word, it is actually God’s Word that changes your child’s thoughts and later behavior, as God’s Word never returns void.
Don’t expect immediate results. We first have to make the Word active by committing it to memory. As we think upon it’s truth, it eventually filters down into our heart That happens when a child realizes that they are sinning by giving in to anger. As they learn to “put off” anger and instead ” put on” self-control, they come to “own” the Scripture and it will begin to change the way they live their life and direct the decisions they make on a daily basis.
Rick recorded CD’s to reinforce and clarify what your child is learning through daily study. Pop them in during school time, at bedtime, playtime, or travel time.
On the CD’s he ‘walks’ kids through the Scriptures they have been looking up in their studies, explaining as he goes. For instance, anger is a natural and normal response when someone treats us unfairly or meanly. What we don’t realize untill we study the Word concerning anger, is that if we cultivate anger in our lives, we will become like the ANGRY MAN in Scripture who has chosen anger so much that it defines who he is. No one wants to be like the angry man in Scripture. You don’t have to be. It’s a choice and it’s those little choices everyday when a brother knocks over your lego creation or smacks you with a softball that determines what you think in your heart.
Scripture is so practical and so clear, but if we don’t dig for what it tells us on certain topics, we’ll probably miss it!
2 Timothy 2:15 tells us: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth”
So, now I want to show you an example of some of the questions I had my kids look up and questions I wanted them to answer- which is a small part of what I have reproduced in Growing in Wisdom to help you train your kids.
- What type of words tends to inspire anger in those who hear them? ___________________
- What type of words should we use instead to turn away wrath? _________________
- What does anger stir up? ___________________________________________________
- What appeases strife? ______________________________________________________
- What does this verse tell us of a person who is slow to anger? _____________________
- What character quality should we exercise to defer anger? ________________________________
- What is a godly way to hold back anger? _________
- How might you apply this to one who is angry with you? ___________________
- How about to someone you are tempted to be angry at? ______________________
- How are we told in this verse to deal with our anger? ________________________
- What are we warned against doing? _____________________________________
- What insight does this verse give us into the character of God? _______________
- Does this verse imply that we can control our anger? ________________________
- What is said of the man who is angry? _____________________________________
- List the responses we are to put away from us. _________________________________
- What character qualities should we strive to acquire instead? ___________________
- What responses are we told to put off? _____________________________________
- What does this verse tell us about dealing with anger? ______________________
Look up the following verses. Tell the name of each person, what he was angry at, and give the consequences or results of his anger. You may have to read more of the text to find the consequences.
- Genesis 27:45
- Exodus 32:19
- Judges 14:19
- Esther 1:12- plus others
Can you think of other examples of people who were angry in Scripture?
- Should we be close friends with an angry man? ____________________________
- What should we do if someone speaks angrily to us? ________________________
- What is said of one who practices self-control? ______________________________