Developing Spirituality and Character Participants Guide

Join the Conversation:

Record thoughts and questions here that come up as you watch the episode.  Explore them later with the group.








Discuss the Episode


  1. Don mentions the struggle to see God in the everyday realities of parenting, and John responds with the need for us to see that God is involved in all of life.  How well is your life “integrated,” how well do you see that your life of work, home and family matters as much to God as your church activities?

  2. John defines character as “the set of abilities you need to meet the demands of real life.”  Have you ever thought of character that way?  Does that help clarify your job as a parent?

  3. John defined six areas of character that we need to pass on to our kids:
           Relationship—relationship is the best place to go when we are in need
           Responsibility—at age appropriate time, kids learn “my life is my problem.”
           Reality—dealing in healthy ways with mistakes, failure, and sin.
           Competence—learning what passion and skill they have to contribute.
           Morality—learning to make wise and ethical choices.
           Worship—teaching and modeling dependence on God.

  4. Which of these do you struggle with most?  Discuss these six areas as a group.  How did you learn or not learn them from your parents?  How can you pass them on to your kids?


Reflect on What Others Have to Say

Underline and mark ideas you would like to discuss.


A person’s character is one’s destiny. A person’s character largely determines how he will function in life. Whether he does well in love and in work depends on the abilities he possesses inside. In a world that has begun to explain away people’s behavior with a variety of excuses, people are left wondering why their lives do not work. Most of our problems result from our own character weakness. Where we possess inner strength, we succeed, often in spite of tough circumstances. But where we do not possess inner strength, we either get stuck or fail. If a relationship requires understanding and forgiveness and we do not have that character ability, the relationship will not make it. If a difficult time period in work requires patience and delay of gratification and we do not possess those traits, we will fail. Character is almost everything.

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, Boundaries With Kids


Your job as a parent is to help your child to see his life as oriented around God’s realities and to live out those realities in daily existence.  You cannot separate your child’s spiritual life from the rest of his life.  It was meant to be integrated into all the aspects of his relationships and tasks.  Spiritual character growth involves much more than religious training; it involves helping the child experience that the essence of existence is spiritual.

‪Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, Raising Great Kids


If a person’s character makeup determines his future, then child rearing is primarily about helping children develop character that will take them through life safely, securely, productively, and joyfully.  Parents—and those who work with children—would do well to keep this in mind.  A major goal of raising children is to help them develop the character that will make their future go well.

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, Boundaries With Kids

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