SpringHill Blog

How to Raise Great Kids

Contributed by Eileen Zilch - Director of IT

It is possible to raise great kids—they are the result of the intentional parenting focused on instilling mature character.

You have likely met someone with a “character flaw,” where one or more aspects of character were not learned in childhood and have become a burden to them in adulthood. But it is possible to raise great kids—they are the result of the intentional parenting focused on instilling mature character.

In their book, Raising Great Kids, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend identify six key character traits which produce mature character and enable kids to deal with life as God designed them to.

Each of these traits is an attribute of God’s character, and while this list isn’t exhaustive, it is certainly representative of the kind of character development that is important for children. As parents, we need to be intentional about developing character in our children, and at SpringHill, our goal is to come along side parents in helping to develop Godly character in kids. The first two aspects of character are described below.

God attaches and loves (John 3:16).

The most basic and important character ability is the ability to form relationships. Attachment to God and to others is the source of all good things. When your child falls down and skins her knee, your comfort helps her to experience and learn the value of reaching out.

Kids who are emotionally connected in healthy ways are more secure. They delay gratification. They respond to discipline. They deal with failure. They make good moral decisions. You cannot lose by developing your child’s ability to attach and relate.

At SpringHill, we develop relationships in the context of small cabin groups or teams. Counselors are role models and friends for their campers, encouraging them to form relationships with each other and to seek or deepen a personal relationship with the Lord.

God takes responsible ownership of His life (Psalm 64:9).

Your child is born thinking his life is your problem. During the beginning of life, this is true. But part of growing character is helping him take ownership over his life and seeing his life as his problem. As he takes responsibility over his choices, he gradually experiences freedom and self-control.

The primary function of responsibility is to put love into action. We were created to develop love by performing the good works that God prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10). Relationship is the reason for existence. Responsibility is the means to bring about and protect relationship.

At camp, kids have the opportunity to learn about responsibility and “experiment” with freedom in a safe and caring environment. For some kids, it is heady stuff to be in a place where Mom and Dad don’t set the rules. With counselors to ensure their physical and emotional safety, they can explore what it means to have fun and be responsible at the same time.

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