A child should not be trained to obey as a dog . A dog may be perfectly obedient, but there is no moral excellence in its obedience. A child must be taught to obey the right by his own choice and for the love of right principle. He cannot be taught this unless he be given the power of choice as fast as his development will allow. The granting of the power of choice to a child will involve a risk – in principle, the same risk that God takes with you and me. And the best children, like the best Christians, will make mistakes in the art of learning to make correct choices and govern themselves!
Some parents, however, who are anxious to “train up a child in the way he should go,” have not studied these divine principles of education . They are not prepared to take the risk.
What do they do? They tend to hold “the mind and will of the child under absolute authority .”
In too many areas they decide for the child what is right and what is wrong. For a time they may appear to be successful parents. Their children may be praised for their excellent discipline.
But at the crisis of life, such children will be weighed and found wanting of true character development . Character is developed as an individual makes choices. If a youth has had a mother or father hovering over him and making all his important choices for him, such a youth will be found without character. To the extent that the power of choice is removed, to that extent will the development of character be hindered .