…and have character.

Heard around the world.

Two or three months ago, I had an impacting conversation with Scott Schwab. You may have heard of Scott. Actually you may have heard of his son.

Scott’s ten year old son, Caleb, died in an accident at the Kansas City waterpark, Schlitterbahn. It made headlines around the country and world. A quick search on Caleb brings up over 400,000 results.

Caleb’s death being simultaneously horrific and public, makes my conversation with Scott that much more impactful. Scott and I have known each other for over 20 years. We attended church together during our college years, and became fairly close.

I ran into Scott and Caleb at a soccer try-out in June. Scott and I quickly caught up, and then discussed soccer and competitive sports in general. We shared back and forth about the power and gravitational pull of sports to dominate our lives for a few minutes, when I stated, “In the end, what I really want is my kids to love Jesus.”

To which Scott immediately added, “And have character.”

All is lost

Billy Graham once said, ‘When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.’

character quote by billy graham on Andy Bondurant

I’ve been contemplating my philosophy on parenthood for a breakout session I’m leading at a parent seminar at our church. I’ve come to determine there are two core values I want to instill within my kids:

  1. Love Jesus
  2. Have character

Education is secondary, success in sports, dance or the arts is frivolous, and relationships are pointless without a connection and commitment to Jesus and a strong character. I realize the term character is broad, so I’ve defined character as these 7 vital traits:

  1. Hard Work
  2. Integrity
  3. Confidence
  4. Global Perspective
  5. Maximize Gifts & Talents
  6. Generosity
  7. Creativity

So, Kia and I are parenting to this end. We’re parenting with a value in mind. It’s the end that matters.

Do they love Jesus? Do that have character?

Remember this.

Reflecting back several weeks ago, in the eye of the storm the Schwab’s were facing, I saw this played out. Using their pastor as a mouthpiece, Scott and his wife, Michelle, talked about their love for Jesus, and they displayed character. The accident didn’t become about a wrong done to them, it stayed all about their precious son and family.

Most of us will never walk even a few steps the Schwab’s had to walk last month, but our love for Jesus and our character will still be tested. When the test comes, remember this.

Your kids are watching.

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