Becoming a person of good character and honor and integrity begins very early.
Becoming a person who knows right from wrong and choosing to do what is right begins when our babies start sitting up by themselves and moving around by themselves. Learning how to hold themselves accountable for their own actions starts this early as well.
Becoming a person who respects others and is respectable starts before they are 2 when they learn to take care of other kid’s toys and not to smear their dirty hands all over everything.
Becoming a person who commits their life to being part of the solution, not part of the problem, in our community begins when they are a tiny tot who learns how to share their favorite toys – putting other people before themselves.
It begins very early.
What might be kind of cute when a 2 year-old does it becomes obnoxious in a 6 year-old, leads to problems when a 12 year-old does it and jail-time when a 16 year old does it. The wrong path also starts very early.
My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016. He was a man of good character, honor, integrity and respect. He knew right from wrong and he committed his life to being one of the good guys – part of the solution, not part of the problem.
All of that started when he was a little guy, learning how to walk. It didn’t start when he went to school, it didn’t start when he went to college or when he became a police officer. It started before he learned to talk.
Have you read the story of Balaam’s talking donkey in the Bible? It was one of Davey’s favorite stories (along with David and Goliath for obvious reasons). As he got older, we had such great discussions about why the donkey could see the angel of God but Balaam couldn’t. And then God made the donkey talk! How can God make a donkey talk? It’s not a problem for the Creator of the Universe. Davey’s faith and understanding of the truth was formed through children’s Bible stories. God fed his mind and soul while we fed his growing body.
The children’s stories are great and the adult stories are even better. The Bible is full of examples of men and women who fought for justice and led the way for others. It also has great examples of men and women who realized they messed up and how they got right with God and those they hurt.
It takes a village to raise a child
Have you heard that it takes a village to raise a child? It’s been true in my life. And, as parents, we have to make a decision about which village is going to help raise our child. Are we going to let our children be primarily influenced by our neighborhood? No way would we have chosen our neighborhood – there was a significant lack of character and respect in many of the families who lived around us when our children were small.
And we couldn’t choose our family as their village since we had no family living in the area except for my mother who came here every winter. Grandparents can be a very important part of a child’s village if they live close.
For us, the members of our church became our family and our children’s village. It was a place where they were loved and taught the truth. It was a place where they were nurtured and cared for by people other than ourselves. Some of their best friends were at church. Davey met Kristen at church camp when they were 10 years-old.
We need to pick our villages carefully.
Because the right path – or the wrong path – begins very early.