Do the Right Thing


Children of all ages need guidance from adults in order to make values like integrity and accountability a part of their lives.

“Do the right thing.” It was a simple motto, clear and to the point. And our high school band director held us all accountable to it. When I think back to all the places our band traveled—London, Dublin, Miami, and Anaheim, among others—there’s no way we would’ve all made it without that sense of integrity he instilled in us.

Children of all ages need guidance from adults in order to make values like integrity and accountability a part of their lives. Whether you're a parent, family member, teacher, student leader, role model, or authority figure, the kids in your life need you to help them create and meet reasonable standards. In his article “Teaching Your Children Correctly,” Dr. Stanley shares these three steps for adults to help kids be accountable to God:

  1. Allow children to set some of the standards and parameters for their responsibilities. If they are old enough, ask them to prayerfully consider how they should help around the house, or what time their curfew should be. Encourage them to consult the Lord and make decisions based on His leading. Of course, you will still need to enforce the rules when they disobey.
  2. Allow them to follow through with the standards and parameters they have set. Sometimes you need to let children make an unwise decision. Of course, if they suggest something ridiculous, you will have to intervene. But you should let your kids experience some consequences in order to mature.
  3. Most importantly, you must live in a way that reflects your own responsibility and accountability to God. Your children notice when you gossip about a family member or brag about avoiding a speeding ticket. As leaders, we must demonstrate lifestyles of accountability to God even in small things, or this principle will be meaningless to our children.

Do you need to make any changes to the way you interact with the kids in your life? While you may have trouble adjusting at first, graciously work on these points. And remember Paul’s words to the Thessalonians: “Admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thess. 5:14). Because one day, you may look back and realize just how much of yourselves you owe to your faith in one another.

Written by Linda Canup


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