As we work toward building character we also need to be mindful not to stumble a little one. We can help them in this process by training in kindness so that they have every reason to want to please us, by consistently requiring submission and by removing negative influences.
I mention the removal of negative influences because as important as it is to put in the good, it is equally important to weed out the bad.
Sometimes we can be very busy trying to grow our children in godly character with good input and yet be defeating our efforts without realizing it. We might be cultivating good soil (having sweet heart strings tied with our child), be sowing in good seed (God's Word) and then jeopardize our harvest by leaving weeds (or negative influences) completely unchecked.
Have you ever lead your children in a 20 minute worship, prayer and devotional time focusing on esteeming others more highly than themselves and then plunked them down in front of a 2 hour video where looking “cool” involved demonstrating poor attitudes towards siblings and the mocking of parents or other authorities?
Maybe that is the content of the books they are reading. If so, we may be undoing much- if not all- of the work we are putting in.
While I agree that we are not the Holy Spirit, we have been hand selected by God to grow these little ones in grace to the best of our ability without stumbling them with worldly ideas and influences.
We have had to do a lot of weeding over the years and I think the benefits have been numerous. Here are a few:
1. The children have learned that we need discerning minds in this world. They understand that not every book, video, or activity available is appropriate for our family. We look to God's Word to help in determining the standard. This process is developing in them a self denial- a dying to self and living for God- that will be a benefit to them in the future.
2. It has created a habit of submitting to our wisdom and greater life experience. They look to us to help them through choices which is beneficial in our relationship today and we pray will continue in the future as well. (Note: When Tom and I do have to remove an activity or something else that does not line up with God's Word we discuss it together, pray over it, sit down with our children- making sure we are all on the same team- and read/ talk through God's Word on the matter. We take full responsibility for letting in a negative influence. We ask their forgiveness and we discuss how to replace that negative thing with a positive something else that would be more in line with God's Word and our family goals.)
3. It eliminates hurdles in their minds that they have to get past in order to respond rightly. Not that they always respond rightly, but we are not setting up a goal, placing hurdles (the ideas that we need to be "funny" or "cool" instead of nice etc.) in their way and then telling them to run. They have enough of a hurdle just living in this sinful flesh, don't you think?
Weeding will always be a part of gardening as long as sin is in the world. May we be diligent weeders with God's help! : )