Have you heard the phrase, “manners matter?”
Growing up my mom taught us manners, by saying things like, “what if the President stops by for dinner?” (The office of presidency was treated with much more respected back then, no matter if you agreed or disagreed with the politics of that particular president.) I digress. She would say, “do you have clean underwear on, you don’t know when you might be in a car accident. Do you want the paramedics to see your dirty underwear?” Even tho these were silly things she said, she taught us valuable lessons in etiquette and manners. Things like:
Chew with your mouth closed.
Don’t talk with food in your mouth.
Offer grandma your seat.
Hold the door for others.
Say please and thank you.
And the list goes on and on. My mother taught us these manners because she wanted us to be accepted in society, because she wanted us to consider others in our surroundings, because she saw that good manners in others meant something to her.
Manners are important.
But you know what is more important and sometimes left untaught by parents.
Often times we think character is something a child should just grow and develop magically. Maybe we think they will learn it in church, school, or just pick it up from books and movies. But character, moral character, Godly character has to be taught. It isn’t something that just develops as a child grows. The Bible says it is a parents responsibility to teach them.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words that I give you today. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re at home or away, when you lie down or get up. Write them down, and tie them around your wrist, and wear them as headbands as a reminder. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 4:9-10 “But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren. Never forget the day when you stood before the Lord your God at Mount Sinai, where he told me, Summon the people before me, and I will personally instruct them. Then they will learn to fear me as long as they live, and they will teach their children to fear me also.”
Matthew 19:13-15 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.
1 Timothy 4:10-11 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers. Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them.
Deuteronomy 11:19 Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
Just a few verses from the Bible that clearly say it is a parents job to instill character in their children.
As my children become adults and start looking for someone to share their future with, it is my desire as a mom that they seek a mate that is of Godly character.
When our daughter met a young man in Kansas, and we went out to meet him and his family for the first time, our first introduction happened to be at a community basketball event. There were lots of families there, and everyone quickly realized who we were. One person after another came up to Jeremy and I to introduced themselves to us, and then went on to speak highly of the young man our daughter was interested in. Men, women, teens, and children all seemed to want to make it clear what a special man this was that our daughter would possibly join with. Not one person spoke to us about Kiezer’s manners, no they all spoke of his character. They spoke of his love for others, love for God, His work ethic, his kindness, and integrity. Now mind you, Kiezer’s manners seem just fine to me. But that wasn’t what mattered most.
I guess what I am trying to say is as my children bring guests home to Friday family dinner, I might notice if they hold their fork like a shovel, but it isn’t going to matter all that much to me. What I will really be looking for is, do they know and love God, and His people. Do they walk in His Ways? Do they love their neighbor? Respect their parents? Do they treat children with kindness and gentleness? Do they honor the elderly?
Because manners do matter, but character is critical!
Written by Katie
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