Developing Emotional Stability in Our Children (Part 2)

In the last issue, we concluded saying, parents should prioritize on character and attitude that ensure emotional stability. Attentiveness, honesty and contentment were given consideration. In this issue we will consider reverence and respect, gratitude, trust and forgiveness.

Reverence and Respect

Reverence is worship. It is a profound respect mixed with love, adoration, devotion, deep affection and honor. Parents, who reverence God, hold Him to be above everything seen and unseen. He is esteemed as creator and preserver of the universe. He is worshipped as the loving Father who provides for our salvation in a day by day experience.

Naturally we think of reverence as teaching children how to pray, sing and sit quietly during a worship service. It begins with helping them recite simple prayers, to participate in family devotions, and regularly attend church services.

True reverence is both ethical and practical. Not only is God esteemed in worship, He is esteemed to mean more than money, business, friends, personal ambitions, human love and self. As children see parents exalt God above everything, in all the details and circumstances of life, they have a basis to anchor their faith and trust.

In this time of economic fears and lost morals, we encourage every reader to give attention to reverencing the Almighty God. Give Him first place in all you do, and you will be rewarded. God has promised to honor them who honor Him (1 Samuel 2:30).

Closely related to reverence for God is the respect we give to our fellow humans. The Bible narrows it down to loving our neighbor as ourselves, or to make it more meaningful, we voluntarily esteem them better than ourselves (Romans 12:10, Philippians 2:3) Esteeming others better than ourselves is a sure way to build lasting friendships and binding relationships. The old adage, “A friend in need is a friend indeed” is so true in securing emotional stability. What we give to others will come back to us. Parents and children benefit when they reverence God and respect those around them.


Trust is defined as a firm belief in the honesty, truthfulness, justice or power of another. It is confidently relying on another’s integrity. It is normal for children to trust their parents. It is devastating to children, emotionally, when parents deceive them, and betray their trust. It can happen in numerous ways.

Making promises and then failing to keep them, making judgments before getting all the facts, exaggerating individual faults and speaking contemptuously of others all contribute to breaking trust. More seriously, is father and mother arguing, quarreling and fighting with each other. Trust is built by the example of honesty and humbleness.

Children sense when their parents love God and trust Him for grace, strength and wisdom to cope with the responsibilities and circumstances of each day. Trusting parents provide an environment for stable, emotional development.


Gratitude is the feeling of indebtedness we have, for all the undeserved favors that come to us from our heavenly Father, and from those around us. It is the realization that our health, our abilities, our friends, our family, our food, our homes and our freedoms give us so much to be thankful for. Expressing gratitude and teaching children to do so, enlarges the heart and mind to think positively about life.

Being grateful shifts the focus from being owners of life, to being stewards. As a steward, we learn to love life and all the opportunities it affords. Emotional stability is greatly enhanced when we recognize others contribution to us personally, and are thankful. Gratitude helps us to be reciprocal and return favors.


Forgiveness is cancelling the debt that others owe to us. It is letting go, from our hearts, all the hurts, injuries, abuses, insults and wrongs that others have committed against us, and refusing to carry a grudge. I have been wronged, I have been cheated, I have been abused, is the cry of multitudes of individuals. I wish I could say it isn’t true, but it is. Our whole society is hurting. What has been done will always be done, and there is nothing we can do to change the past. We can look to the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ came to earth to reconcile lost sinners to a holy God. He promises to forgive our sins, and to remember them no more. But He says He will only forgive our sins on the basis that we forgive those who have sinned against us (Matthew 6:14, 15). The secret in dealing with the injustices of the past is to forgive those who wronged us. Only then can we be free before God and man, and experience the peace that Jesus gives. It is not easy, but it is possible. It is the road to healing, victory and ultimate triumph.

Let us cultivate the virtues of reverence and respect, trust, gratitude and forgiveness in the nurturing of our children. The dividend of this discipline will benefit us all for time and eternity.

-by J. Luke Martin

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