Are You Raising “Good” Kids?

Have you ever heard someone talking about a young person, describing him or her as a “good kid”? What did the person mean by the word “good”? Most likely that the child stays out of trouble and is not annoying everyone. The Bible tells us one of the Fruits of the Spirit is goodness? What does God mean when He uses the word “goodness” and does it describe you and your children? More importantly, what are some things you can do as a parent to instill “goodness” in your children?

The secular definition of goodness is being morally good or virtuous. It implies someone who has goodness is avoiding doing anything wrong. Not surprisingly, the biblical definition is a little bit richer and fuller. It, too, refers to the persistent resistance of all moral evil. But it adds two dimensions not specifically mentioned in the secular definition.

The first is a “deliberate preference” of right to wrong. If your children have goodness in their character, that aren’t just being good to avoid punishment. They actually prefer doing what’s right over what’s wrong the vast majority of the time. See the difference in the attitude and the heart? Do your children want to please God or are they doing the bare minimum because they “have to” in order to get to Heaven? Someone who wants to please God is more likely to obey Him – even when he or she doesn’t necessarily understand or agree with a command in the Bible. These young people are also going to have more easily repentant hearts when they do sin. Their hearts’ desire is to please God.

The other difference is described as “the choosing and following of all moral good”. You have probably read that many religions have a version of the “Golden Rule”. The difference is that all of the other versions focus on avoiding doing something evil to someone. The Christian version is the only one that adds the dimension of seeking to purposefully do good to someone. This added part of goodness follows that same pattern.

Biblical goodness is not just about avoiding what is morally wrong. It is actively seeking to do what is morally right and good. It’s fairly easy for me to avoid killing my enemy. It’s much more difficult to pray for my enemy and bless those who curse me. God always calls His people to a higher standard than the world. Why? So Christians stand out in a good way and point people to Him. If you and your children do the bare minimum, you will look exactly like everyone around you. It may make you a bit more popular, but it’s highly unlikely anyone will ask you about God because of your “goodness”.

Talk about goodness with your children. Hammer out a working definition of what goodness looks like lived out in real life. How would they behave differently than they do now? How would their attitudes change? What kind of heart would they have? How would they treat others? How would they respond to God’s commands?

Don’t just have one conversation about goodness. Talk about it regularly. Encourage each other to display more “goodness” in your lives. Talk about how standing out gives you more opportunities to serve others and share your faith. Make goodness a family virtue.

Published by

Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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