Generation Cedar

handsome young man smiling

Do you ever look around and wonder where the outstanding men and women of the younger generation are?  Do you ever read historical biographies and find the young, upright characters almost unbelievable compared to today’s youth?

We seem to be breeding a culture of mediocrity. 

Young people who lack that kind of fortitude and character capable of weathering any storm.  

And then there’s the dilemma I’ve heard circulating among companies and employers:  the immense lack of employees who are faithful, hard-working and EXCELLENT at their jobs.

Where are they?  What have we done?

We’ve been studying Daniel for the past several weeks.  I think every family should dive into the life and story of Daniel.

Daniel was very young when he went into the service for the king.  The king was a wicked and harsh man and Daniel exhibited excellence of character at every turn.  Read through that book with new eyes.

When it’s all said and done, this is what we really want for our kids–to launch them out, even among a godless culture, and see them stand firm and hold fast, no matter the cost.

A friend recently shared with me how her two homeschool-graduate sons were doing in their classes at college.  She humbly expressed gratitude that their professors seemed to be overwhelmed with their character, introducing them to colleagues at every chance, and in general, praising them for their diligence in their work and their outstanding communication skills.  It’s as if they’ve discovered a rare treasure among their students.

“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.”  Proverbs 22:29

How do parents raise children to be “skilled in his work?” 

Excellent? Resilient? (Bear in mind the “excellence” I’m describing here is not arrogance but diligence, and the portrayal of godly character.)

It starts right at the beginning, just like everything else.  And it involves intensity of effort on our parts.  (Anything good requires intense effort!)  Here are a few things I thought of that would help us raise children of excellent character:

  • Give them responsibility as early as possible, and praise their efforts.  As soon as a baby can walk, he can begin to help.  Let him know that his help is valuable–picking up a block, throwing a piece of trash away, etc.  Increase that work according to ability.

 

  • Hold up examples of excellence.  Again I say, read great biographies–these are great tools for “showing” your children what godly character looks like, and how a life is blessed by excellence of character. Great, inspirational movies are also a good tool.

 

  • Model it.  We can’t miss the obvious.  How do you respond to life situations?  Are you honest?  Level-headed?  Do you go to the Bible for insight in handling situations?

 

  • Don’t say “YES” to everything.  Parents have the grave misconception that to love them is to give them everything and not to deny their every want.  I submit this can be detrimental to a child’s character.  Of course we enjoy giving good gifts to our children, but they also need to learn to be content and to see us exercising wisdom as we make choices.

 

  • Teach them the Word of God.  Another obvious one, but how many of today’s youth are really being saturated with the instruction of Scripture?  Do they know what the Bible says about how to handle situations?  It’s more than attending church on Sundays too.  It’s daily implanting the Word in their hearts “when we rise up, when we lie down, when we sit in our house, and when we walk by the way.”

 

  • And a bonus: let them fail without running to their rescue or shaming them. Both extremes are harmful. Experience is a great teacher. Sometimes our best response might be something like: “I’m sorry about ____. I know you’ll figure it out. Consequences can be hard.”

 

Can I just say it again…it’s WORK!!!!  And that is exactly what we have been called to.   Roll up those sleeves 😉

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