Why have courage?
There are two reasons.
The first reason to be a braveheart is truth. Rock solid truth gives a reason to act with courage. If you
believe something is true and important, you can find a place for your feet and take a stand...or, take steps forward with confidence. Even steps into dangerous and uncomfortable places and situations.
Because you believe in something. Something that matters.
Truth is an accurate portrayal of reality. There is no such thing as "That is true to me, but not to you." It is either reality or it isn't, it is either true or it isn't. It may be honest to say, "This seems to be true to me, but you don't think so." That is perception, and perception is deeply influenced by culture, education, ability, and experiences. While there is only one reality, the way people see that reality can be unsteady. Which is the reason for education.
Education helps us make sure our children learn to see the world accurately, and then to act with courage in light of truth. This is what good education does: children learn to read and listen and watch, carefully and with discernment. For the sake of sorting out truth from lies. Developing skills to look at information and decide whether the information is true is a major, if not the major, reason for education. Figuring out: truth or lie?
Those decisions of truth or lie, in large and small, drive our actions. Is the advertisement true that the new car is worth the expense, or not? Is it true that the hamburger with cheese is better tasting than the one without? Are people valuable, or not? Our decisions of truth or lie determine our choices and actions.
For those who believe that the Bible is God's word and is accurate, solid truth about reality is available. Truths that give a child a reason to take a stand and to step out, even when risky. Eternal truths about God and man, about man's need, and God's answer. Eternal truths about the power of real love, hope for change and the future, and the strength of humility. And, so much more that helps children have a real, a true, understanding of life.
Truth isn't just philosophical, a propositional statement about life. It is also personal, developing and acting on an accurate and truthful view of self and those around. As Jesus says in John 8 in a fairly long discussion of truth and its value, "the truth will make you free." The more an accurate understand of reality is understood, in ideas and self, the freer we are to be something new and to walk with courage and grace in life.
How do we help our children learn to discern reality and the importance of truth?
First, make skills for discovering truth and a desire to seek truth at the top of our goals for our children, to give them the opportunity to be and do what they were created for, to walk through life with courage and impact. Don't settle for an education that doesn't care about truth and the skills needed to discover it.
Second, model a life of truth seeking and truth using. Do our children see us looking for what is true, what is reality in the big pictures of things and in our own lives? Do they see us acting on truth?
Third, make truth telling part of your child's whole day, every day. As Moses writes in Deuteronomy 6, teaching God's words throughout the day is vital. And, to be ready for teachable moments when your child asks what things mean (verse 20). How do you do this?
Satan is called the deceiver, the father of lies. He wants to teach children that there is no way to know truth and that whatever someone thinks is true is okay. If learning truth and using truth are not high on our agenda for our children, Satan wins, we lose. Children drift into the rubbery land of half-truth and "whatever someone thinks" and have no reason to have courage, to act with confidence and conviction. The belt of truth that Paul tells about in Ephesians 6 holds everything together in this battle with Satan.
Why have courage? The first reason is truth. Truth important enough to make stands and take steps in life.
Next time, the second reason for courage: love.