Teaching Our Children About Honor (Part 4)

teaching honor

In our last three posts, we covered honoring the Lord, people in general, parents, older people, and public officials. We should also teach our children to honor people within the church family — especially those in leadership.

Honor church leadership by giving.

We are told in 1 Timothy 5:17, 18, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn.’ And, ‘The laborer is worthy of his reward.'”

Above all, we honor the Lord by giving generously in the offering, but we also honor our church leaders in this way. Our giving ensures that expenses are met and pastors and their families are not in want. Elders who do well at teaching the Word and those who lead capably are to be especially honored by our giving. The idea that pastors should be “kept poor to keep them humble” is ungodly. Paul said that those who labor for the Lord are worthy of being compensated accordingly.

Children can be taught the concepts of cheerful giving and tithing (giving 10% of one’s income) at an early age. Are they paid for chores, or do they get an allowance? Help them to set aside the 10%. Create in them an excitement about contributing in the offering. Be a powerful, positive example by modeling cheerful giving of your finances.

Honor leaders by speaking well of them.

Paul goes on in 1 Timothy 5:19, “Do not receive an accusation against an elder, except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.” Do you “have the pastor for lunch” at your house — criticizing him over Sunday dinner? We must avoid that, especially by being an example to our children of honoring and respecting church leadership with our speech.

This does not mean if they say something wrong that we have to swallow it whole. We must always measure teaching and preaching by the Bible, using discernment and wisdom. But if they err, there are proper ways to handle that. Grousing about them is not one of them.

There were times we and our children were present when a pastor or traveling speaker said something from the pulpit which was not in line with the Bible. We addressed what was wrong with our children, so that they would know they should not believe what they had heard. We showed them what the Bible had to say on that subject. But we also tried to emphasize that even church leaders need grace and room to grow in their understanding. I wouldn’t say we always achieved this perfectly, but it was our goal.

Honor them by submitting to their leadership.

Hebrews 13:17 says, Obey them who have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they who must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

Submission does not always mean complete agreement. But it does mean we honor their leadership, even if they make mistakes. It also means we receive their correction humbly, just as we would want our children to submit to us, their parents. We can explain to our children that pastors hold a God-given authority to direct the church, just as the father of the family holds that authority in the home. Again, the most effective way to teach this concept is by example, but sharing Bible verses with them which back up the principle is important, too.

The loyalty unit of our book, Character Building for Families, Volume 1, provides detailed, scripted lessons to help you discuss in greater depth with your family how to honor church leadership.

Honor the body of Christ.

We’ve already mentioned 1 Peter 2:17 twice before in this series: “Honor all men…” (Part 1), and “…Honor the king” (Part 3). Sandwiched in between those parts in the verse is still another command: “Love the brotherhood.” Remember that genuine love for others will always cause us to honor them in our behavior. Every member of the body of Christ — particularly in the local congregation — is to be treated with respect. Romans 12:10 further encourages us to “Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another.”

In our home, we also used 1 Corinthians 12:14-27, which explains the church family metaphorically as being like a human body, to help our children understand just how indispensable each person in the congregation is to the rest of us. It’s a wonderful passage to discuss and memorize together, and doing so will leave a Christ-like deposit in your children.

This concludes our series on teaching our children how to honor others. I’d love to get your input on ways you teach honor to your children, and if you can think of other areas where you feel honor should be taught, please share in the comments.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Character Building for Families, by Lee Ann RubsamDo you need help in teaching your children about honor? The Deference and Loyalty units in Character Building for Families, Volume 1 can help!

Sample pages from the Deference unit




Teaching Our Children About Honor (Part 3)

teaching honor

In our first two posts in this series, we talked about honoring God, parents, and older people. Let’s continue with more categories of people the Bible specifically instructs us to honor.

Honor government officials and public authorities.

This would include elected and appointed officials, such as the President, members of Congress, state and local leaders, judges, and police.

1 Peter 2:17 tells us, “…Honor the king.” How easy it is, when we don’t agree with our leaders’ politics or policies, to use derogatory language about them! Most of us adults are probably guilty of this. Unfortunately, our children are learning from our poor example.

Studying honor toward government officials together provides an opportunity for the whole family to grow in Christ-like behavior, especially humility. We can teach our children to honor their government leaders by pointing out how we have already failed to model this well for them, and then ask their forgiveness. We can pray for each other to do better in the future, and even give them permission to remind us (respectfully) if we slip up again. Ah, accountability! I don’t like exposing my sin to my children, but it is an effective teaching tool. They see our weaknesses anyway, so we might as well use them to advantage.

Romans 13:1-7 is a good passage for explaining to our children why we should be respectful of public authorities. Take a look at verses 1 and 2 (NIV):

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment upon themselves.”

Like them or not, people holding public office and other positions of governmental authority (such as police) have been placed there by God, whether they were elected or appointed. Even evil officials have been placed in power for the Lord’s own purposes, perhaps to lead us to prayer, repentance, and heartfelt intercession for change. The apostle Paul wrote this passage during a very difficult time of oppression under an evil Roman emperor. Yet he recognized God’s hand on that leadership and system of government. We must teach our children to have this perspective, and to trust God in the midst of it.

Besides not using disrespectful language about them, one of the best ways to show honor to government leaders is by praying for them. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 speaks of this, explaining both the why and the how:

“I exhort therefore, that … supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings, and for all that are in authority, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Notice that praying for them is for our benefit, so that we will have government which provides a quiet and peaceful existence, but also for their benefit, that they would be saved through our intercession for them.

Next time, we’ll wrap up this series by talking about honor within the local church.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4


Character Building for Families, by Lee Ann RubsamDo you need help in teaching your children about honor? The Deference and Loyalty units in Character Building for Families, Volume 1 can help!

Sample pages from the Deference unit

Teaching Our Children About Honor (Part 2)

teaching honorIn our last post, we said that giving honor is a way we show love. We noted that the two great commandments were to love God and love other people — which includes honor. Today we will look at more specifics of whom to honor and how to do that.

Honor parents.

After honoring the Lord Himself, this is the beginning building block in teaching our children the concept of honoring others. The Fifth Commandment, found in Exodus 20: 12, is, “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you.”

The apostle Paul restates it in Ephesians 6:1-3: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with promise), that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.” Notice that obeying parents is closely tied to honoring them.

Notice also that the stipulation “in the Lord” is added. When teaching our children honor, we should be clear that if anyone directs them to do something wrong, whether a parent, teacher, pastor, employer, or government official, they are not required to do it. When commanded to stop preaching about Jesus, the apostles responded to the Jewish leaders, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). They were not arrogant in their response, but they were firm. We must teach our children not to let anyone talk them out of  honoring God above all others.

The Bible speaks very seriously about the sin of not respecting one’s parents — even when the child is grown. Deuteronomy 21:18-21 said older children who were rebellious and disrespectful to parents should be brought before the authorities to be stoned.

While we do not use such severe measures today in dealing with rebellious children, we should help them see from a very early age that rebellion and disrespect are highly displeasing to the Lord. We must never allow ourselves to think sassiness in a little one is cute, and we cannot afford to neglect dealing with it consistently. The sooner it is taken care of, the less likely that greater problems will show up later on.

In our home, we worked diligently to get at the root heart attitudes which evidenced outwardly in disrespectful words, tones of voice, and body language (such as eye-rolling). If we only deal with outward behavior, the sin will resurface down the road a bit.

So, talk with your children about what is going on inside. Lead them into confessing sin to the Lord and calling upon Him for His help in overcoming. Help them to understand that disrespect toward people hurts God’s heart as much as it does the people they are not behaving kindly toward. Dealing with these issues is exhausting, but getting at them early and often is well worth the effort in the long run.

Honor older people for their age.

This starts with honoring older parents. Our children should understand that God expects us to respect our parents throughout their lives. Proverbs 23:22 says, “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” While we should discuss this concept with our children, it is even more important for them to observe us showing honor to our elderly parents. Seeing Mom and Dad treat Grandma and Grandpa with kindness, patience, and respect goes a long way toward helping our children do likewise.

Honoring older people should go beyond the family. Leviticus 19:32 instructs in basic manners toward the elderly: “You shall stand up before the gray head, and honor the face of the old man….”

Paul gave direction to Timothy on how to treat older men and women in the local church body: “Do not rebuke an elder, but entreat him as a father, … the elder women as mothers … with all purity” (1 Timothy 5:1). 1 Peter 5:5 says, “Likewise, you who are younger, submit yourselves to those who are older….”

In much of the western world, youth and the physical beauty or strength that goes with it are glorified, while the elderly are often devalued and mocked. That is not a godly perspective. The Bible speaks much of the wisdom which comes with years, especially in the person who has grown old knowing the Lord. Job 12:12 observes, “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days is understanding.” King Rehoboam made the mistake of taking the advice of men his own age, rather than listening to the veteran counselors who had served his father Solomon. The results were disastrous (1 Kings 12:2-16).

In our next two posts, we will continue looking at particular groups of people whom the Bible says to honor.

Part 1
Part 3


Character Building for Families, by Lee Ann RubsamDo you need help in teaching your children about honor? The Deference and Loyalty units in Character Building for Families, Volume 1 can help!

Sample pages from the Deference unit



Teaching Our Children About Honor (Part 1)

teaching honorWe live in a world where disrespect for others has become “normal” behavior for many people. How can we keep this trend from taking root in our children? Whom should they honor? Are there exceptions? How can we help them consistently make the choice to show honor where honor is due?

Learning to honor starts with planting deep within our children’s hearts the two great commandments found in Matthew 22:36-39. Jesus was asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

That’s it in a nutshell: Love God and love people. Honor is really about showing love. When we don’t honor (respect) others, we are not fulfilling Christ’s second great commandment. We should be quick to remind our children, however, that they cannot do this in their own power. They need the Holy Spirit to help them.

How is this to be worked out in everyday life? There are several key areas we can talk with our children about in greater detail.

Honor God.

In all things, the Lord must come first. Our human tendency is to honor people ahead of honoring God, either because we want to be honored by them in return or because we are afraid of them. The drive to “go along with the crowd” is powerful within us. Honoring God above people is something we must talk about with our children often.

Here are a few verses to help you with this task:

Galatians 1:10“… Do I seek to please men? For if I still wanted to please men, I would not be the servant of Christ.”

1 Thessalonians 2:4“But as we were allowed by God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, Who tests our hearts.” 

Acts 5:29“Then Peter and the other apostles answered, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.'”

Colossians 3:23“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men.”

Honor God’s creation.

Why? Because God loves the things He has made. Honoring His creation by taking good care of it is an extension of honoring the Lord. Genesis 2:15 tells us, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Some translations say, “to cultivate it and guard it,” or, “to take care of it.”

Because some ecologists and environmentalists have gone to extremes, even worshiping the creation itself, Christians sometimes have a tendency to minimize taking care of the earth. It’s interesting to note, though, that Revelation 11:18 says part of God’s judgment upon wicked men in the last days will be to “destroy them who destroy the earth.”

We should teach our children to honor God by respecting His creation and stewarding it for His glory.

Honor all people.

1 Peter 2:17 tells us, “Honor all men….” Why would God say that? Because all humankind has been made in the image of God. When Adam and Eve fell into sin long ago in the garden, that image became marred, but it still exists. God expects us to honor all people simply because He made them. That doesn’t mean we respect everything that a fellow human being does, but we can honor each person as the creation of God.

In Part 2 of this series, we will look at specific groups of people whom the Bible says we are to honor. I hope you will stay with me for that.


Character Building for Families, by Lee Ann Rubsam

Do you need help in teaching your children about honor? The Deference and Loyalty units in Character Building for Families, Volume 1 can help!


Helping Children Deal with Emotional Hurts

It’s tough being a child. Not yet having the perspective that comes with adulthood, when others speak cruel barbs into their lives, they don’t know how to handle it. Without our help, they end up believing the lies about themselves that other children (or even adults) throw their way.

Most of us have been through this ourselves as children. Often, we still deal with the scars. So, what can we do to help our kids, so they don’t end up with giant problems of rejection and low self-esteem? Here are some tips to get started.

Speak blessings over them.

Compliment your children often — at least daily. Tell them when they do well, even in the smallest things. Mention strengths and excellent qualities you see in them.

By human nature, it’s very easy for us to see their faults. We’re prone to pointing out what they aren’t doing right. Remembering to mention their good points is a lot more challenging, but it is a habit we parents must work to cultivate in ourselves.

Build a sense of divine purpose in them.

Tell them they are valuable to God, and that He planned awesome purposes for them since before they were born — even before the world began. Here are some Bible verses to help you:

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has ordained beforehand that we should walk in.”

Romans 8:28-30 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son … Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called ….”

2 Timothy 1:9 – “Who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

I love that these verses tell us we are created to do good works for Jesus (Ephesians 2:10), but we are not called by God because we’ve already done good works (2 Timothy 1:9). He planned ahead of time what we would do for Him, and He gives us grace to accomplish His plans, but it’s not based on our performance. We must frequently convey this truth to our children.

As part of blessing our children, we should speak over them, as much as we know, the destiny God has for them.

A friend told me the story of how she consistently spoke destiny into her child. She often said, “Gracie, you are an awesome woman of God!” Gracie didn’t always act like one; she was only a little girl, and quite mischievous. But when Gracie was about ten years old, she had an accident which nearly took her life. As the paramedics worked to stabilize her, they checked her cognizance by asking her name. Gracie’s half-conscious reply was, “I am Gracie __________, and I am an awesome woman of God!” That mom’s words had taken hold in her daughter to the point where she believed them in her heart.

Explain why other people are unkind.

If our children can see the problem is with the person who is speaking evil, not with themselves, it takes the edge off the pain. Here are some possible ways to address the situation:

“Mary wouldn’t say those things if she felt glad about herself inside. She’s just lashing out at someone else because she is hurting. It’s not really about you.”

“John is insecure. He’s putting you down because he doesn’t feel valuable. He wants to feel superior to someone else.”

“Jen is having a hard time at home right now. Her family is having many problems, and she’s hurting you because she hurts so much inside herself.”

“Brent has experienced a lot of rejection in life. He is letting loose on you some of the rejection he feels toward himself every day. He doesn’t even know why he does this, but in some way, it makes him feel more in control of his life.”

It’s true with children as it is with adults: hurting people hurt other people. If we can help our children to understand this and redirect their own hurt to compassion for the hurting person, it will help them.  

Use the negativity they’ve received as a teaching tool.

I often told my children, “I know this is really hurtful, but the Lord is allowing it to happen so you will learn how not to treat others.” I explained that God would use the hurt they felt to help them become compassionate people, sensitive to the feelings of others. We talked a lot about putting ourselves in other people’s shoes, thinking about how someone might be affected by our words.

Frequently remind them of The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is found in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31. Read the passages surrounding those verses and discuss how to practically walk them out in everyday life.

Here are additional verses we used with our children:

Psalm 141:3“Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.”

Proverbs 31:26“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”

We discussed the practical applications we could make from these verses, memorized them together, and often prayed for the grace to live them out well. When I heard one of my children treating another unkindly, all I had to say was, “The law of kindness!” to bring right behavior to their remembrance.

Teach them to deflect negativity by speaking the opposite over themselves.

Truth is much more powerful than lies, but we have to diligently wield it. Learn Bible verses together which speak the truth of your children’s value. Help them develop the habit of speaking blessing over themselves as an antidote to the curses of others. I have a series on this subject at my other blog, Out of the Fire, which you may find helpful.

Teach them to forgive immediately.

It starts with a decision to forgive. The emotions follow the decision. But the quicker we make the decision, the quicker the emotions line up.

Remind them that Jesus commands us to forgive (that’s the decision part). Read together Bible passages which talk about this. You may need to help them pray a simple prayer of forgiveness. If you need help with teaching forgiveness, Character Building for Families, Volume 2 has a section in the mercy unit to help you walk through this with your children. You may also find the kindness unit in Volume 1 helpful.

homeschooling, Bible character studies


Character Building for Families,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

We’re Celebrating National Homeschool Day!

National Homeschool Day
Saturday, February 23, 2019.

To celebrate, we are having a sale on our
Character Building for Families manuals!
Regularly $16.00 each, on sale for $13.00 each in the U. S.
Free Media Mail shipping included.


4-day Sale — Friday, Feb. 22 – Monday, Feb. 25, 2019

Christian character studies


There’s a free online homeschool conference available for you on National Homeschool Day, too, with several well-known homeschool leaders speaking.
Register Here


The Changer of Times and Seasons

changing direction…Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His, and He changes the times and the seasons….Daniel 2:20, 21

Most of us like the security of what is familiar to us. We thrive on the comfortableness of established ways of doing things, surroundings we’ve grown accustomed to, and a routine we’ve been in for a while, because we feel safe knowing what is going to happen next. Even though we’re aware that change is a given in this world, if we can avoid it, we’d still rather do so.

Lately, the Lord has been bringing to my attention that He is the author of changes — even uncomfortable ones. Daniel 2:21 says, “He changes the times and the seasons.” That includes what goes on in our personal lives and in how we homeschool.

The need for change sometimes forces itself upon us rather rudely, but at other times it creeps up on us subtly. Perhaps that curriculum which has always worked well, even through several children — the one you’ve enthusiastically recommended to all your friends — suddenly doesn’t seem to hit the mark anymore. Or the method of homeschooling you firmly believed was the “right” way to do it no longer captures your heart or your children’s.

The restless, listless, something-isn’t-working feeling you and your family are experiencing could be a prompting from the Holy Spirit that it’s time for a God-ordained change. Don’t ignore it! God, in His kindness and wisdom, could be giving you that sense now so that you will have adequate time to pray and receive His guidance before you plan your curriculum purchases for the next school year. Start by asking Him about it: “Lord, something just isn’t clicking anymore. Will You guide us into what You have instead for our family?”

Remember when you first started on your homeschool journey? It was quite an adventure, wasn’t it? Everything was fresh and new — exciting, but kind of scary, too. It may feel like that again, depending on how radical the changes are that you’ll need to make. But if the Lord is at the root of it, He will give His grace to succeed. Go with His flow, and let His peace be the umpire in your heart (Colossians 3:15).

As you wait for God’s leading, keep your inner spiritual ears attentive for fresh ideas which crop up. They could come as an inspired thought out of the blue or something a friend mentions in ordinary conversation which keeps replaying in your memory. Write these ideas down, and look for a pattern of what the Lord is saying.

God does not bring change to us on a whim. He does it because these changes are best for us. They help us and our children to fulfill the purposes He has for us. Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6 reminds us, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven, … a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.”

Don’t be afraid to cast off an old mode of operation, comfortable though it may be. Take hold of the new season and new ways God wants to introduce into your home school. As you move in agreement with Him, you and your family will be blessed.

homeschool character studies


Character Building for Families,
by Lee Ann Rubsam