Website owner: James Miller
How is a person's character determined? Life is filled with temptations, obstacles, frustrations, inner struggles and dilemmas that we all have to cope with, things which test our character. I think character is built according to how we deal with these as children. It all depends upon the decisions and choices we quietly make within ourselves as we are growing up. And the choices and decisions we make are dependent on such highly personal things as courage, strength of character, personal ideals and standards, etc. How important is teaching, training, and moral instruction for developing the character of a child? It is probably highly helpful but not necessary. Why? Because moral knowledge is within us. God put it there for us, for our sake. We all know right from wrong from birth. Parents, in teaching us, correcting us, and disciplining us, simply reinforce that knowledge of right and wrong within us. My parents did not spend much or any time actively teaching me moral precepts. They did correct me when necessary on this and that. I don't think the issues were usually moral. They expected me to act sensibly and responsibly. They were strict and used physical discipline. They demanded obedience. I was raised on hard farm work. Neither of my parents drank, smoked, swore or used any kind of low or bad language. There was no off-color humor in our home and no instances of immoral conduct. My mother made sure we went to church. I was raised in a morally clean home. In that way my upbringing was different than that of many people. I think the character of a child is determined by the extent to which he is true to that knowledge of right and wrong within himself, the extent to which he listens to and obeys the still, small voices within himself. What voices do I mean? I mean the voice of conscience and the voice of prudence, wisdom, good sense, good judgment. The habit of listening to and obeying the voices within creates character. Plus the habit of reflecting, thinking, and observing life and people. One observes the virtues, faults and mistakes of others in learning how to live life. In the creation of character each of us is quietly on his own, silently making personal decisions, unknown to anyone, that will decide his future character. He quietly decides whether he will lie or tell the truth, do the job right or fake his way through, etc. It is the prudent, wise child that develops good character. When one has gotten out into the world and seen much of people one is impressed by the great diversity and variety in the characters of people. I will illustrate with some of my own character traits. One of the things that distinguished me as a child was that I was persistent. I would never give up on a problem. When I couldn't understand some idea or concept in school I kept at it until I understood it. I wouldn't give up. I wouldn't admit defeat. I felt I could do anything anyone else could do. Defeat was unacceptable. I remember this in my childhood. Where did this habit come from? Did anyone ever teach me this as a precept? No. The habit came from within myself. I instinctively knew within myself that it was very important to me psychologically never to give up on a problem, to never admit defeat. The habit came from an inner knowledge, a voice of prudence within. Some people are very careless and untidy. They drop their belongings everywhere and are a mess. I have always been very methodical and tidy. I put things where they belong. Everything has its own place. Where did this habit come from? It came from a voice from within. I don't think my mother had to tell me when I was a boy to put my things away. I put them away because I was a conscientious boy who listened to the voice within. The voices of conscience, prudence, good sense told me to put things away. Some children are ruled and controlled by the voices of conscience, prudence and wisdom within themselves. They have good sense, good judgment, and are ruled by it. They have personal standards and are ruled by them. They have a personal integrity that they hold stubbornly to. I am sure that in my case the voices within were connected to my love of the Bible, knowledge of scripture, love of God. I was supported by my strong spiritual foundation, my knowledge of scripture. I am not perfect. I have made many mistakes and still feel ashamed of them when I think of them. Do all children hear these voices of conscience, reason, prudence, good sense within themselves? I am sure they are there within all of us. God put them there for our own sakes. But there may be some interference. They may be drowned out by other voices. What other voices? The voices of the crowd. Peer pressure. All the wrong and bad voices impinging upon us from every direction in our modern society. Our own selfishness or perverse inclinations. I believe that the greatest enemy of the voices within is the crowd. When I was a boy I was very skeptical of the crowd. I didn't trust it. I stayed away from it. I believed then, and still do believe, that the crowd is the great destroyer of morals. To be true to God one has to walk a separate road. The extent to which a person is able to maintain his integrity in life depends a great deal on his willingness to avoid the crowd and walk a separate path. God's way is not the way of the world. You can't have both --- God and the world. You have to choose. God's way is not the way of the masses, the majority, or of the intellectuals of this world. They are all on Satan's road. Feb 2008 More from SolitaryRoad.com:
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