Showing Our Kids the Whole Spectrum of Virtue
- Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I felt like I’d been pulled up short. I looked at my past behavior and didn’t like what I saw. I recognized that while he would crawl and beg and grovel, I felt justified in my disrespectful treatment of him. After all, he obviously didn’t feel he deserved respect! But last night, when he treated himself with respect, I couldn’t help but give him that same dignity. I felt a new respect for him welling up in me and I let go of my anger.
Now we’re both excited. I’m reading your book along with him so that I can encourage and support his growth, and mine!
We have a baby boy and I feel like this is the perfect time for this change to be happening. I’m so glad that my son will grow up with an example of what a man should be, and (hopefully) the treatment he deserves from his future wife. We are both grateful for your much-needed message!
Weak and timid children become parents whose children find them spineless and unreliable. They have checkered employment histories and an obligatory church attendance that fuels cynicism and resentment toward God. These anxious people also wear their bodies out—they’re more at risk for hypertension, migraines, intestinal maladies, and other stress-related illnesses.
Perhaps the most shocking part of their personality, already entrenching itself while they’re kids, is that they tend to be dishonest and deceptive. Because their parents cannot or will not discern the difference between false humility born of timidity and real humility created by genuine modesty, they don’t point out to their children what fear and passivity are doing to their lives. So for example, when they lose at a board game or at pickup hoops because their timidity prohibits them from cultivating playfulness and competitiveness, they say they lost because “I didn’t try my hardest,” and “I could have won if I wanted to.” These are the words I heard a pastor’s passive son tell my boy. They develop ways to deceive themselves and others in ways that can set patterns and strongholds for their entire lives.
Furthermore, they frequently feel they have no choice in the matter, because their only option is to conform to the will and expectations of others. They’ve been robbed of their ability to do what they believe is right. For instance, when they witness other children being bullied, they watch as if it’s occurring on TV or as if they’re not even present. They lack the tougher virtues, and it’s the tougher virtues they must have.
Paul Coughlin is the author of numerous books, including No More Christian Nice Guy and No More Jellyfish, Chickens or Wimps. He also co-authored a book for married couples with his wife Sandy, titled Married But Not Engaged. His articles appear in Focus on the Family magazine, and he as been interviewed by Dr. James Dobson, FamilyLife Radio, HomeWord, Newsweek, C-SPAN, The New York Times, and the 700 Club among others. Paul is founder of The Protectors, the faith-based answer to adolescent bullying, which provides curriculum for Sunday Schools, private schools, retreats, and individuals that trains people of faith to be sources of light in the theater of bullying.
Visit Sandy's website for reluctant entertainers at:
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