Parenting class has been a joy for me. The years of parenting can be really nerve racking and it makes it so nice for parents to come together to discuss “how to” with other parents. Our goal is the same but the methods may differ. I tell my class, your children will become the “mini me’s”, the replica of themselves. How many times we tell ourselves, I will never be like my parents, we over time see certain traits in which they helped establish in our character, which is so hard to change.
Character develops over time. It is the script that was wrote in your head as a child. Whatever a child believes, that controls his actions, whether right or wrong. Our character is formed not only by our genetic make-up but also is determined while growing up. And while genes certainly has its influences on us, the environment normally determines the impact of a gene. But no matter what happens as a child, the piece of the environment is going to have a huge impact on their life. Thus genes provide the goal, but the environment provides the process. And it is what happens during the process that will determine the outcome.
A person’s observable behavior is an indication of her character. This behavior can be strong or weak, good or bad. A person with strong character shows drive, energy, determination, self-discipline, willpower, and nerve. They see what they want and go after it. They will attracts followers. On the other hand, a person with weak character shows none of these traits. They don’t know what they want. Their traits are disorganized and is inconsistent. They will attract no followers.
A strong person can be good or bad. A gang leader is an example of a strong person with a bad character, while an outstanding community leader is one with both strong and good characteristics. An organization needs leaders with both strong and good characteristics, people who will guide them to the future and show that they can be trusted.
My husband Jeff was adopted as a baby. We met his biological mother four years ago. Although she was the gene producer of my husband’s genetic make up, Jeff’s character was mostly determined by the parents who raised him. Much as they are today, they instilled into Jeff the determination, goals and leadership ability.
Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing. Leaders do not command excellence, they build excellence. Excellence is “being all you can be” within the bounds of doing what is right for. To reach excellence you must first be a leader of good character. You must do everything you are supposed to do. People will not achieve excellence by figuring out where they want to go, then have leaders do whatever they have to in order to get the job done, and then hope their leaders acted with good character. Pursuing excellence should not be confused with accomplishing a job or task. Excellence starts with leaders of good and strong character who engage in the entire process of leadership and management. The first process is being a person of honorable character with trust. One of the ways to build trust is to display a good sense of character composed of beliefs, values, skills, and traits.
We have had to move people in our church out of position because of character. It doesn’t matter how good a person can get the job done, and they might be good organizers or be talented. They may be the best teacher, singer or musician, however if their character lacks stability they will not have followers. Effective leadership is ultimately the key to success. The people who you put under you in any type of organization or leadership must reflect you and what you stand for.
How do we build in our children this ability. The environment in your home is the major mold in your child’s attitude and future lifestyle. If you don’t like yourself or some of your ways, why would your children be any different? They will become you, if you don’t determine to change. We cannot change on our own. Habits are developed over time and changing takes time. It takes a made up mind first. Then it takes the Spirit of God living inside you to change and develop the characteristics of Christ within. It is not overnight, that is why you must be determined to be more like Him to see and make a difference in the life (your children) of others. You determine their character. So, if you don’t like the way your children are behaving or acting or living, take a look in the mirror and your life around you.
I Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
You can change! Your children can change! It is repetition in doing not only the right things, but also doing things right.