A Matter of Conscience
It is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. 1 PETER 3:17
Barbara was working on her needlepoint, and I was reading the newspaper. It was any weeknight in America—just the way Norman Rockwell pictured it. At least it was until our eighth grader, Benjamin, popped his head up from behind his school-assigned book and said, "Dad, I don't think I should be reading this."
"What do you mean, buddy?" I asked.
"This story—it's got some pretty graphic details about a man and a woman in it. You know, sex!" He blushed a bit and shot a nervous glance at his mom, who nearly jabbed her finger with that sewing needle.
"Let me see that book," I said. Quickly flipping through a few pages, I could see right away why he was concerned. He was dead on. This book was explicit and graphic as it spun a romantic tale.
As it turned out, we were able to help him get an alternate assignment. After his teacher originally threatened him with a zero for not reading this particular book, we came to a meeting of the minds and were happy with the result. But nothing made us happier than seeing our son's conscience in action, knowing that at 14 he already had an acute sense of right and wrong—and the courage to choose what he knew was best.
I can promise you that living-room stories like these don't happen without lots of work on the part of parents. Lots of Scripture. Lots of prayer together.
Lots of offhand conversations, teachable moments and direct disciplinary actions.
If you're doing it right, parenthood often means being a pain to your children, interfering with what they want. But those early years of character development are so important. That's when you play the role of your children's consciences—calling them, training them, prodding them on to a higher good, helping them learn the value of refusing evil.
How have you seen your children's consciences fire into action?
Pray that the Lord will always keep your kids' consciences tender to His touch.