When you were a child, was there an area where you really struggled to do what was right? Did you normally obey the first time you were asked, or did you have to make a mistake before learning to do what was right?
This month, our virtue is Noble Knight. Being a Noble Knight means living with honor and integrity—in other words, knowing what’s right and doing it even when it’s tough. A Noble Knight pursues what is right and just.
According to the Oxford Dictionaries
Noble: “Having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles.”
Honor: “The quality of knowing and doing what is morally right.”
The Biblical story of Daniel sets an inspiring example of what it means to be a Noble Knight. As a young man living in a palace, Daniel chose following God over indulging in the luxury around him (Daniel 1). As he grew older he remained faithful even as he served under foreign kings who were not always honorable.
Daniel lived a life full of faithfulness to God, but the most well known story is about when he was thrown into a pit of lions for following God. What gave him the strength to do what was right even when it meant spending the night among hungry lions? His unwavering confidence in God. Daniel defined success as following God faithfully, no matter the outcome.
Of course, no one is perfect. We all mess up every day. But, Daniel sets an example and teaches us two important lessons.
To do what is right the first time, we first need to define success by following God and his commands.
When we do what is right, we are developing character to do what is right the next time—when the stakes may be higher.
We can help our kids do what is right the first time by teaching them God’s Word. And, we can teach them stories of heroes like Daniel, and we can teach them passages that describe what it means to be honorable and noble. For example, Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” See this month’s calendar for other ways to help your children act in ways that are honorable and noble (this sentence should be a link).
Most of us are not Daniel. To say that people learn by experience is a vast understatement. But, thankfully, God uses our poor decisions to teach us about grace and forgiveness and to show us how to do what is right.
“Character is not always doing the right thing the first time, but doing the right thing once you know you realize you have made a mistake” (Anonymous).
The Apostle Peter is a great example of someone who learned from his mistakes. He followed Jesus for three years. Then, after Jesus was arrested, Peter denied three times that he even knew Jesus (John 18). However, after the resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter and restored him to a right relationship with the Lord Jesus by asking him three times if he loved him (John 21) and giving Peter the opportunity to follow him once again. Peter then spent the rest of his life serving God and teaching others to know the love of Jesus.
We can help our children learn from their mistakes by simply asking them about their actions and pointing them to God’s Word. Even our young children know when they have done something wrong. When we ask them questions, they will often quickly admit their fault. After the age of three they should be able to tell you what they should have done. The more we do this when they are young, the easier it will be to talk with them about larger mistakes as they get older.
It’s good to teach our kids to learn from their good behavior and from their poor behavior, but we want to do this with love and grace. As parents, we want our children to know our love is not dependent on their actions. This is how God loves us—just like the father in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11–24).
Praise God His love is not dependent on our good behavior! Praise God that he sent his Son to pay for our sins (Roman 5:8) and that he uses our sins to teach us how to be Noble Knights. Let’s be praying together that we would raise our kids with love and grace, so they can face their life and lions with honor.
Presbyterian Day School (PDS) is a private, Christian preschool and elementary school serving boys from 2-years-old through 6th grade for almost 75 years.
With our mission of striving to glorify God by developing boys in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man, we take a holistic approach to education, nurturing the heart, soul, mind, and body of each boy.
4025 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN 38111