Monday, June 3, 2013

Book of Virtues

Today is the first day our our 22nd week, reading the Bible through together in a year.  Our scriptures this week are:

  • 1 Chr 22-25; Romans 5; Psalm 78
  • 1 Kings 1; 1 Chr 26-28; Romans 6
  • 1 Kings 2; 1 Chr 29; Romans 7
  • 1 Kings 3; 2 Chr 1; Romans 8; Ps 42
  • 1 Kings 4; Prov 1-2; Rom 9; Psalm 43
Somewhere in the boxes full of books that I have yet to unpack, there's a book called The Children's Book of Virtues, by William J. Bennett.  Inside are stories from Greek mythology, Native American legend, folktales from around the globe, world history, and much more.  Each story highlights a different virtue, like honesty, integrity, friendship, or courage.  

Based on this book, Bruce Johnson and Porchlight Entertainment produced a video series in the 1990s, entitled Adventures from the Book of Virtues.  Nate S. writes a synopsis on  ...The adventures of eleven-year-old Zach Nichols and ten-year-old Annie Redfeather as they suffer pain from issues involving other children. To solve these problems, they seek council from a group of anthropomorphic animals whose names come from the Greek - Plato, an old and scholarly bison; Aurora, a wise red-tailed hawk; Socrates, a rambunctious and wisecracking bobcat; and Aristotle, a feisty and bookish prairie dog. This ensemble teaches the kids virtues by telling them stories from the Book of Virtues.  

Both the book and the children's video series teach children those old moralistic lessons that used to be so common in American school curricula, but which have been lost to this new age of moral relativism.  I highly recommend both of these resources to parents who want to pass on virtuous living to their children.

We have the original Book of Virtues--the Bible--which guides children to grow into godly women and men.  Psalm 78 (ESV) says:

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
    incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
    I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
    that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.

God's Word tells us how important it is to pass on godly virtues to the generations that come after us.  We do this by sharing parables, stories, aphorisms, words of advice and scripture.  Unfortunately, too many people these days have hidden these things from their children, resulting in a breakdown of our society's moral fabric.  We have shifted from the idea of living a virtuous life to the notion of living an easy life.  But life isn't supposed to always be easy.  In fact, struggle can produce the virtues that God wants to develop in our hearts.  Romans 5:3b-5 (ESV) says that "...we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Whether by the words that we share with our children or by the experiences that God grants them in life, God's desire is that His people grow in virtue and grace.  I hope that you'll seek to live a virtuous life, and that you'll pass godly virtues on to the next generation that comes after you.

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