Inside Out: Teaching Children Right from Wrong

“It’s fun to ask children ‘Why do you do what’s right?’ The common answer from kids is, ‘So I don’t get in trouble.’ That’s when you can take them to Romans 13:5 which says, ‘Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.’”

“Punishment is external. Conscience is internal. So what does that mean for parents?

“Good news. God has created inside the heart of your child a piece of standard operating equipment that helps you do your job as a parent. Of course, the conscience isn’t a lot of help until it’s trained. But daily life regularly provides the opportunities to train the conscience.

“Look for ways to get kids thinking about the conscience in their own lives. You can do that in part by talking about their motivations for doing what’s right. After all, if they only do what’s right to avoid punishment or to get a reward then they’re missing out on the benefits of the internal prompting of the conscience.

“The reality is that maturity and responsibility require that a person do what’s right when no one is watching and when no apparent reward is available. The child just does it because it’s right. Now, children have the key to growing up and being responsible, and that’s to do what’s right even without external prompters.

“Of course children still need parents to help them know what’s right in any given situation but as parents work along with the God-given equipment in a child’s heart, they transfer the responsibility to the child. That’s great news and something we all look forward to.” -Dr. Scott Turansky, Biblical Parenting

It’s A Matter of Heart

The Hebrew word for heart “Leb” is used more than 1,000 times in the Old Testament – 94 times in Proverbs alone! “Heart” has to do with our whole inner being – the center of our mind, our emotions and our will. It is the inner self, where God speaks to us through His Word and Spirit. How can we teach children from the inside out so they can know the difference between right and wrong—for life?

3 Keys for “Inside Out” Living

1. Choose to Believe God’s Word
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

2. Choose to Pray Continually
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

3. Choose to Follow the Holy Spirit
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Romans 8:14).

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  1. Advocate for Child Rights August 29, 2012

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