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Character Matters
June 2011
Character Trait – Self-Reliant:
Check It Out. – What Does It Matter? – How Does it Count?
by Lori Coeman
The Self-Reliant Christian
Does that sound like an oxymoron? After all, what distinguishes the Christian faith from other religions is that it is not based on man’s ability to perfect himself. It is based on Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf and God’s grace.

To understand why this character trait matters so much, let’s look at what the root word means. To rely literally means to bind again. It implies that a person’s behavior is bound to something over and over, creating a pattern of behavior that is recognizable. For a Christian, our behavior is bound to the life of the Spirit within us – so beautifully expressed as the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.

So being self-reliant means that we endeavor to manage our behavior in a consistent, responsible way. Self-management is one of the primary traits perspective employers look for in a job applicant. The parent guide to Tuning in to My Child’s Future details ten self-management skills:
     •  concern for productivity
     •  pride of craftsmanship and quality of work
     •  responsibility
     •  reliability
     •  good work habits
     •  good attitudes toward company and employer
     •  ability to write and speak effectively
     •  ability to read and apply printed matter
     •  ability to follow instructions
     •  ambition, motivation, and desire to get ahead and grow

Notice that only three of the ten skills could fall under the category of academic skills (reading, writing, and following directions). The remainder have more to do with attitude and character than knowledge skills. How does that percentage line up with how we divide up our time in homeschooling? I dare say that for most of us, the numbers are switched: 70% academics and 30% character training.

Odds are that if you ask any number of employers, they will tell you how hard it is to find employees that match the description above. As consumers, most of us have dealt with the repercussions of employees who don’t care about their work – many times over!

Do you want to see your children make a difference in this life, to stand out as a light upon a hill? Then train them to be self-reliant Christians.
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Image Credit: © IngridHS -

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