“Why do you do what’s right?”

It’s fun to ask this question of children. When you ask, “Why do you do what’s right?” the common answer from kids is, “So I don’t get in trouble.” That’s when you can take them to Romans 13:5 which says, “Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.”

Punishment is external. Conscience is internal. So what does that mean for parents?

Good news. God has created inside the heart of your child a piece of standard operating equipment that helps you do your job as a parent. Of course, the conscience isn’t a lot of help until it’s trained. But daily life regularly provides the opportunities to train the conscience.

Look for ways to get kids thinking about the conscience in their own lives. You can do that in part by talking about their motivations for doing what’s right. After all, if they only do what’s right to avoid punishment or to get a reward then they’re missing out on the benefits of the internal prompting of the conscience.

The reality is that maturity and responsibility require that a person do what’s right when no one is watching and when no apparent reward is available. The child just does it because it’s right. Now, children have the key to growing up and being responsible, and that's to do what’s right even without external prompters.

Of course children still need parents to help them know what’s right in any given situation but as parents work along with the God-given equipment in a child’s heart, they transfer the responsibility to the child. That’s great news and something we all look forward to. 

This parenting tip comes from the children’s program curriculum Hero Training Camp by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

How have you seen internal motivation demonstrated by your child?

Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

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  1. Hi, while I like this very much, I think it is still not quite there. If you look at book "The Shack", you will see that it points out that the Bible says very little about responsibility. Instead let's focus on relationships and LOVE. Instead of teaching our kids to be moralists, to do what's right, to be preoccupied with that, let's focus together on doing that which is loving. We should do what we do because it is loving to the other person or to God. I prefer to get my kids focused on the two greatest commandments. I don't want to be the moralist that I was for years. I was just too cold.

  2. Interesting... Thanks Fred for your thoughts. Somehow there must be a balance here. i wouldn't want to diminish the greatest commandments Jesus taught. It seems though that Paul thought pretty highly of having a clear conscience. In fact in 1 Timothy 1:5 says, "The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." Interesting how the conscience is tied in there. Then later in that same chapter he says that two guys shipwrecked their faith because they abandoned a strong faith and a clear conscience. I wonder if you moralist past might be overly influencing your perspective on God's Word and what it says about the conscience? I would suggest that part of the conscience's work is to prompt us to love. Jesus told the Good Samaritan story to a man who "was seeking to justify himself." That sounds like another good conscience passage. Jesus is saying that we have an internal obligation to love. I'm convinced that that internal prompting comes from the conscience when it is functioning as God designed it.
    --Scott Turansky