Without True Character, There Is No Freedom 

How do we teach the concept of freedom to our children?

Freedom is ________________.

Fill in the blank. It would be interesting to survey groups of people from different communities across the nation and see what answers were given. It would be even more interesting if we could have that blank filled in by an equal number of people who lived 200 years ago and compare the two.

John Adams is famous for this quote:

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

I do not think one can define freedom apart from holding a standard to an unchanging moral foundation of truth. “I am the…truth,” said Jesus. At Emeth, we teach truth as defined in God’s word the Bible because it is unchanging and cannot produce anything but stability in the life of those who adhere to it.

My blank would be filled with this definition:

Freedom is living responsibly within the boundaries of God’s moral law as defined in the Bible.

Boundaries are a blessing

Boundaries allow us to roam freely within a designated area without fear so we can be assured of success. Everyone (who wants to stay alive!) operates within the law of gravity. Because it is unchanging, we have developed all sorts of mechanisms to improve our lives. Can you imagine what it would be like to try to invent an airplane if the law of gravity were not stable!

Just as we have physical laws, so we have moral laws. They allow us the most freedom to reach our individual potential while, at the same time, allowing others to do the same. It is not an “I can do whatever I want” mentality, but rather, “I can become everything God created me to be – and you can too.” This results in a life full of purpose as it fosters meaningful relationships with others, without which there is no purpose for living at all.

Freedom requires character

Freedom requires obedience.Obedience is a prerequisite to blessing.Teaching children obedience is key to their success in every endeavor, obedience to God’s word being of primary importance. Because the religious leaders in the time of Jesus had no intention of listening and obeying, they lost the opportunity to receive the reward of truly knowing God.

Character, like muscle, is formed through continual exercise. “Use it or lose it” is definitely in operation here. If we do not diligently train godly character in our children, when the tests of life come, they will be incapable of enduring throughout the trial.

How do we teach the concept of freedom to our children?

If freedom is living responsibly within God’s moral law, then this verse can easily be applied:

“Whoever has, will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” Mathew 13:12

Our children must learn that the greatest amount of freedom will be enjoyed when they faithfully carry out the responsibilities given to them with a proper attitude.

A simple 3 step approach

  1. Show me you want to obey by choosing a positive attitude.
  2. Carry out your given task to the best of your ability.
  3. Be rewarded with another privilege (which carries with it additional responsibility).

If Johnny wants a dog, then he must first show me he can keep his room cleaned up to the standard set with a cheerful attitude – the ultimate test! Be sure to keep that standard in place! After X amount of time, long after the initial enthusiasm of getting a dog has passed, if he has acted responsibly, he gets a dog. Yay for Johnny!

Now Johnny has to not only keep up his room, which should have become a habit by now, but he also has the additional job of feeding, walking, and grooming his dog, along with cleaning up the poop!

Won’t be long and John (as a teen no one wants to be called Johnny) will want a car. If I as his parent have been consistently increasing his responsibilities and he has been faithful in the above points, I will have peace of mind knowing that he will be able to afford a car, take care of it, and drive the other kids to all their activities so I don’t have to! Yay for responsible teens! Yes – they do exist!

Freedom accompanies good character.

Good character allows freedom to be sustained.

Without true character, there is no freedom.

May God grant you wisdom to develop that kind of character in your children so each of them will experience the greatest amount of freedom possible.

We at Emeth are here to support you in developing those responsible teens we all want. Our extensive character training program is designed to produce godly character. Every student who has remained with us for three years will have completed a full cycle. Those who have participated in our Llama Team, a leadership training program, will be doubly prepared for success. Access to our current and past CT curriculum and stories can be found HERE.

*Photo image by Jeff Turner