In this practical article by Dr. Scott Turansky, co-founder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting, you’ll discover how you can help children choose to do what’s right for the right reason.
God has created an internal GPS system inside the human heart. It’s made up of two things: a strong faith and a good conscience. The two working together help accurately navigate the roads of life, choosing not simply the most convenient path, but the wisest one. They help a person make choices based on internal conviction instead of simply acting to get some kind of reward. Don’t’ just take our word for it. Let’s look at the scriptures.
Paul chose to use faith and a good conscience to encourage Timothy to be wise in navigating his own life. He describes faithfulness this way, “Holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith” (1Timothy 1:19). Of all the things Paul could have used to describe the difference between a person who stays the course and one who shipwrecks their faith, he picks these two: faith and a good conscience.
Moral and spiritual development happen together. Conscience development, however, is more than just moral development. It helps children develop a sense of responsibility. Here’s just one example of parents who appealed to the heart of a child to see significant change take place.
Juan, age nine, was mean to his brother Carlos, age six. Carlos was annoying and everyone knew it. Juan believed that if his brother was annoying, he had the right to be mean to him. After all, he deserved it. Dad and Mom decided to make some changes. They wanted to help Juan develop compassion like Jesus had. Instead of setting up threats and punishment plans, they decided that every evening before bed they would go into Juan’s room, and together with Juan, they would pray for Carlos. They prayed that Carlos would learn to be more aware of how his actions were irritating to others. After a few days of praying, they began seeing changes in Juan. The way he related to his brother changed. He was more willing to help his brother see what was annoying and made suggestions to him of what he could do differently. When asked about it Juan said, “It used to be that I would get angry with Carlos and then I would get mean. But now, I’m not angry. I feel sorry for him and so I just ask him to cut it out, and he does.”
The conscience is a special place in a child’s heart. See what you can do to touch that place and you’ll maximize change in a child’s life.