Other Thoughts On Instilling Morals as Dads - Part 2
- Sunday, January 13, 2002
(This is Part 2 of the series "Other Thoughts on Instilling Morals as Dads." Click here for Part 1 of "Other Thoughts on Instilling Morals as Dads."
We have followed the advice of Dr. James Dobson, Ph.D., founder of Focus On The Family, who recommends taking each of your children away for an "adolescent trip" sometime between the ages of eleven and eighteen. (See our previous article, "Ways to Teach Right and Wrong - The Adolescent Trip," in our archives.) We have done this with all five of our children. Mom accompanied each of the girls; and dad, the boys. We do not regret spending one penny of the money or one second of the time invested in this event for our five children.
We took Dobson's Preparing for Adolescence tapes with us and listened to them during the trip. Each of our children chose their trip. Jeremiah went with David to Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania and then to a Philadelphia Eagles Monday Night Football game. Josiah went to visit two of his best friends in Philadelphia, after a 9-hole golf outing, followed by an Eagles Monday Night game as well. (David has gotten the benefit of two Eagles wins - a rarity of itself these past few years!) Wesley took a jet ride to St. Louis and joined David at a National Christian Businessman's Committee Conference. (Yes, that was Wesley's legitimate choice. He just wanted to go away on a trip somewhere with his dad.) Rebekah chose a trip to Niagara Falls, staying at a nice hotel and shopping at a mall there. Katie went to a Dude Ranch to spend time with Mom riding horses, swimming, and boating. The parent makes out better than the kids in some respects, as Laurie will attest. She had a great time with both daughters.
The greatest value in this sort of trip is the relationship it reinforces between the young person and the parent. It shows that we value our children. It gives us an opportunity for valuable one-on-one time. And we get to air out some significant issues like puberty, sex, trust, peer pressure, and other issues of critical concern to adolescents. It has been worth the cost to us hands-down.
There is a second product that we also recommend as an alternative to Dobsons Preparing for Adolescence. Dennis Rainey of Family Life Ministries (www.familylife.com) has a great tool called Passport to Purity that also can be used for an adolescent trip program. Either of these tools is good. The most important thing is that you do something, no matter what tools you use to do it. What you may use is entirely up to you, your preferences, and personal convictions.
We want our children to be active thinkers. How do we accomplish that? What are the tools we can use to teach discernment? A good place to start is the Bible. This should be intuitively obvious to the most casual observer. King David said, "Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee." Times of memorization and meditation on scriptures are very valuable. There are many good resources out in the home-school marketplace that help with Scripture memorization and meditation.
A great book to begin with is Proverbs. These thirty-one chapters are filled with practical statements that any person, whether eight or eighty, can use to learn how to live justly. Issues involving moral situations, handling pressures, financial decisions, areas of obedience, listening to parents, avoiding foolishness, and much more are covered in these pages.
Study the teachings of Jesus, especially the Sermon on the Mount, the parables, and His many personal interactions with the disciples. No one is a better teacher for our children than our Lord. Additionally, many Old Testament situations involving David, Solomon, Samson, Samuel, Esther, Ruth, Elijah, Jeremiah, and others lay the base for learning moral issues. Be sure that it is a regular part of your childs curriculum, even if they are in public or private institutional schools. Nothing says that parents cant do more than the schools do. In fact, a careful reading of Scripture as fathers and mothers show that spiritual training is our job. So as the Nike commercial says, "Just do it." It fits here.
For more information on how to provide moral instruction for your children, consider a copy of The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School: A Parents Guide for Preparing Home School Students for College or Career. Also check out the Callihans comprehensive Web site, http://www.davidandlaurie.com.
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