Finding Causes for Character Problems

Here is a test. Can you quickly write down what the major character needs are of each of your children? As dads we are not only responsible for the education of our children, but also their character. Any character issue that is left unresolved in our children becomes a future spouse or employer’s problem. If our children get by with laziness, lying, stealing, disrespect, or disobedience, they will only get worse once they are out of our homes.

I spoke to a saleswoman just yesterday who said she and her husband had decided to tell their twenty-three-year-old “dead-beat son” not to contact them ever again. That will not solve anything. Hopefully, none of us will ever experience a situation as grave as the one they are in, but the principle that we will reap what we sow is an iron-clad guarantee. The doubly sad part of their situation is that these parents view themselves as ideal role models and poor, innocent parties. Therefore, they will probably never humble themselves sufficiently to resolve the breach. They are not willing to accept responsibility for what they have created.

So, does that mean there is no hope since none of us are perfect? Certainly not! God’s grace is sufficient and in our weakness He is made strong. However, we must humble ourselves and be willing to admit our failures. We need to seek God’s answers to the problems. We must cry out to God for insight into the problems as we look past the surface issues to the real root causes. We must accept the possibility that we dads may have a significant part in the solution. Then we must commit to do whatever is necessary.

There is one area I encourage you not to overlook as you search for causes. I am convinced one of the biggest contributors to much of the difficulty in homes is the TV. I could write pages about TV and what it is teaching anyone watching it. I believe none of it is of value. Some might say, “Wait a minute, sometimes we watch educational shows.” Yes, but aren’t most of them humanistic and teach evolution? Wouldn’t it be much better if our children were reading the information out of a godly textbook? They would still receive the knowledge while improving their reading skills at the same time. I used to justify watching TV, when in actuality it was my own laziness and desire to be entertained that kept us watching it. It is a mistake to confuse entertainment with rest. One day of rest is good, more than that is likely slothfulness.

Others may say TV is great entertainment. Entertainment it is, but certainly not great or profitable. Could it be responsible for a generation that is entertainment starved? There is never enough. Children show up at youth groups looking to be “wowed” and to spend each moment having fun. There is no concept of serving or spending time profitably.

I’m told there are many programs that teach rebellion, disrespect for parents, laziness (that we must be entertained), and unhealthy sexual ideals. I’m sure the list could be much longer, but if there is a grain of truth in what I’ve heard about TV these days, then why keep it in the home?

Certainly there are many other areas that should not be overlooked. Unfortunately, most require difficult decisions to be made. We have all made a very tough one in deciding to home educate. Now the question is: Are there other difficult ones that could help to solve character issues while there is still time?

Posted in: Dad's Corner

A Controlling Wife

The other night Steve gave Joseph, 6, and John, 4, a discipline that I didn’t want them to have. In addition, the little boys were missing playtime with Dad because they were refusing to comply with their discipline. I asked Steve to let them finish their discipline later. Steve felt strongly that Joseph and John should understand there were consequences for what they had done and the discipline shouldn’t be postponed. I commenced to help the boys, but this only made me unhappier with my husband. Steve could read my attitude even though I had not said anything. When he asked me what was wrong, I told him! Can you guess what the outcome was? Steve said he felt he could not please me since there are discipline issues that I want him to deal with, but when he does, I am not satisfied. He ended up unhappy with me, and I with him.

Later, as I reflected back in prayer over the situation, I was again made aware of how much I try to control what goes on in our home. Although my desire is to be a submissive wife, I am quick to jump into these situations and express myself vocally or by my attitudes and emotions. Wouldn’t it have been better if I had been supportive of my husband’s leadership in our home? How often I undermine him!

I see this area of supporting my husband as an opportunity to build my faith in God. Surely, God is big enough that He can influence Steve in his actions and decisions. Can I trust Him? Will I give way to fear, as 1 Peter 3:6 warns wives against, stepping in to try to take control? It is presumptive on my part to imagine that my way is God’s way and my husband’s is not.

1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” I have found that the more I have this meek and quiet spirit, the more peace I have in my heart. I am quick to explain something, justify a child’s action, or say what I think in a matter. If I will sit quietly and let my husband be in charge, I have chosen the path of submission rather than control.

The pride in my heart makes it difficult to go to Steve and ask his forgiveness when I fail in being submissive. It is much easier for me to justify myself than to admit being wrong. God’s way is to break down my pride and build humility in my life. This is accomplished by my failures if I deal with them properly.

Steve is gracious and encouraging to me as God works in my life. It has taken more than twenty years of being married for me to begin to understand this vital truth in God’s Word about a wife’s meek and quiet spirit. I am just starting to see why He says it is precious in His sight. May we all walk in God’s truth in our relationships with our husbands.