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Parenting Tip

June 4, 2015

“Why do you do what’s right?”

It’s fun to ask this question of children. When you ask, “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.

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