All of us have virtues in varying degrees and strengths. We may also realize that some virtues are developed more naturally within us while others are developed through circumstances.
The Bible exhorts us to be diligent in growing our faith. We are to “add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge… For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:2-4)
Let me illustrate this. Michael is, by nature, a very patient boy. He is not likely to say in the playground: “Hello, it’s my turn now!” Instead, he will wait patiently until there is “a gap” at the slide. Too much patience, however, will not work for Michael because he’ll end up waiting at the slide forever. Richard, on the other hand, is very assertive. He knows what he wants and shows determination and purposefulness, jumping the queue regularly to enjoy the thrill of going down the slide.
While Michael’s patience may be amazing for that of a young child, this virtue alone will not help him accomplish what he wants. He will need to grow in the virtue of assertiveness and be taught to do it with tact and courage. Richard knows how to get what he wants but without exercising the virtue of consideration and self-control, he may not make many friends.
Growing our faith along the virtuous way is essential in our journey with the Lord where moral excellence ought to be part of our life and our relationships with others. Like Michael or Richard, our children may have over-developed some virtues, while others need further development. For every strongly developed virtue, a balancing virtue is probably required.
Suppose you’ve realized that your child has over-developed a virtue, can you identify a balancing virtue? How would you help your child develop his/her balancing virtue? For Michael, his parents’ presence and continual encouragement became his pillar of strength, giving him the courage and knowledge to assert himself whenever he encountered similar situations.
Be assured that your child will grow from strength to strength in the fortitude of his/her character as you become more mindful and intentional in growing your family in faith and virtue.
God will bless your efforts. Shalom!
Kah Lai is the head of UrbanKidz and has been working with children for the last 20 years. She loves all forms of travel – from backpacking trips with friends, to going solo (she travelled to Taiwan and journeyed up to the picturesque Alishan area alone), to exciting family holidays. She is married to Benjamin and they have two boys.