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Parents teach their children love by example


Moral Education

Moral Education

While on a school trip, some teenage boys were accused of sexually assaulting another male student. All attended a prestigious private school in Canada. After the incident, Leonard Stern wrote in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper: “All the advantages of intellect and education and social class do not inoculate young people against making bad moral decisions.”

Stern also stated: “You’d think the single greatest goal of parenting would be the promotion of a child’s moral development. The reality is that many parents seem more concerned about academic or material advancement.”

To be sure, schooling is important. But even the best secular education cannot help a person to combat wrong desires or bad inclinations. Where, then, can we get an education that addresses those areas​—that provides moral guidance?


The Bible is like a mirror. When we look into it, we see our limitations and weaknesses more clearly. (James 1:23-25) But the Bible does even more. It helps us to make needed changes, to develop qualities that foster true peace and harmony. Those qualities include goodness, kindness, patience, self-control, and love. Love is even called “a perfect bond of union.” (Colossians 3:14) Why is love so special? Note what the Bible says about this quality.

  • “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. It does not brag, does not get puffed up [with pride], does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. It does not rejoice over unrighteousness [badness], but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, . . . endures all things. Love never fails.”​—1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

  • “Love does not work evil to one’s neighbor.”​—Romans 13:10.

  • “Above all things, have intense love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”​—1 Peter 4:8.

When you are with people who love you, how do you feel? Safe? Secure? Relaxed? Yes, you know that they want the best for you, that they would never intentionally hurt you.

Love can also move people to make sacrifices, even lifestyle changes, for the benefit of others. For example, when a man we will call George became a grandfather, he dearly wanted to spend time with his grandson. But there was a problem. George smoked heavily, and his son-in-law did not want him smoking around the baby. What did George do? Even though he had smoked for 50 years, he gave up the habit for the sake of his grandson. Yes, what power love has!

The Bible helps us to cultivate many fine qualities, such as goodness, kindness, and especially love

Love is a quality that we learn. Parents play a big role in teaching their children how to love. They feed and protect their children and come to their aid when they are hurt or sick. Good parents talk with their children and teach them. They also discipline their children, which includes teaching them sound principles of right and wrong. Additionally, good parents set a fine example, becoming role models for their children.

Sadly, though, some parents fail in their responsibilities. Does this mean that their children are doomed to failure? Not at all! Even many older people, including some who grew up in dysfunctional families, have made amazing changes in their lives, becoming caring and trustworthy citizens. As we will see in the following article, that even includes some who may have been viewed by others as beyond reform!