Here we begin a new course in the HeirBorn curriculum. The HeirBorn crest depicts four major themes each representing a different course: Quest, Creed, Heritage and Character. It is to HeirBorn Character that we now turn.
Character is pictured on our crest by a gemstone. Prov. 28:6 says: “Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse. (NIV) Godly character is our HeirBorn treasure! These lessons are crucial, and the kids are at a critical age to receive them.
But let’s be reasonable about our ambitions. We’re not going to develop character in our students within a 50-minute class period. Character formation is far more serious than wiping catsup off of a child’s mouth so that she is presentable. It is also more difficult. An often quoted adage is: Sow an act…reap a habit; Sow a habit…reap a character; Sow a character…reap a destiny (George D. Boardman). “Character” only after “habit?” Clearly this is a lifelong challenge. We’ll sow seeds that by God’s grace will bear fruit for years to come.
This character fruit is far better termed “virtue” than “value.” Let me explain what might seem to be a small point at first glance. First, these are not simply ideals to be cherished, but qualities to be practiced. The lessons will be filled with activity and stories. The kids will see the qualities we teach acted out in real life situations through biographies of great Christians. They should be encouraged to respond in ways that are just as active. “Values” are impractical clothes worn by models in a magazine. “Virtue” is a favorite pair of blue jeans word, suitable to real experiences.
We’ll expect these character traits to show up in kids’ lives, but what we desire is more than mere behavior modification. We want nothing less than heart transformation. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (NIV) This transformation is something we can influence through the mind (Romans 12:2), but which can only be finally accomplished by the Holy Spirit. Prayer will be our best lesson prep and our best lesson follow-up!
There’s a second reason why “virtue” is better than “value.” “Virtue” does better to communicate that these traits are honorable according to the objective standard of God’s Word. They are not merely significant because we place our own subjective value upon them. There they stand, whether men approve them or not.
Here’s the way the lessons will be organized. Each virtue will be developed over two weeks. In the first week, the virtue will be explained through the use of Scripture and various activities. In the second week, a hero from church history will be introduced who modeled that particular virtue. HeirBorn Character also has a unique angle for helping our kids become world Christians. As John Paton is held up as a model of service and responsibility, we’ll take a look at Vanuatu where this famous missionary served.
Are you ready? Let’s go.