by Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001)

(Chapter 41 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Blue Denim and Lace)

"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold." (Proverbs 22:1)

"A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth." (Ecclesiastes 7:1)

"Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place." (Proverbs 24:15)

There used to be an old saying, "His word is as good as his signature." The phrase "good name" in Proverbs 22:1 implies more than a name that folks like. It implies a good risk, a good credit name, a good business reputation, integrity, character, honesty, etc. Certainly this is rather to be chosen than great riches. Money cannot give a person a good name, but a good name can get him money. Hence, if one does not have both, it is better to have a good name. It is important to start early in the life of a child teaching him to have such a name.

In the first place, children should be taught to be discreet about indebtedness. Exercise care in going into debt and assuming obligations that cannot easily be met. He should be taught that a debt should be paid on or before the day it is due. He should be taught that anything less than this is dishonesty.

In spite of the fact that care should be exercised in the making of financial obligations, it is, nevertheless, a definite asset for a person to have good credit. I advise young couples to establish good credit immediately upon marriage. Time and again I have encouraged young couples to go to the bank and borrow a hundred dollars, pay it back in a few days; then borrow a hundred and fifty and pay it back in a few days; then borrow two hundred and pay it back in a few days; then borrow two hundred and pay it back in a few days; then borrow two hundred fifty, etc. until they have extended their maximum borrowing power. This is a good idea for a church as well as an individual. One never know when such a credit standing will come in handy. All of the time he is developing his credit rating.

It is also a good idea for a person to buy a few things on credit from companies other than banks. Again, this can be used to help one to establish credit.

If a child is to have a good name, he should be taught to take pride in his family name. Again and again a child should be reminded of his name. A family spirit should be born. This is akin to school spirit. When I was a Paratrooper in World War II I was taught to take pride in the fact that I wore the wings and boots of the United States Paratrooper. I was taught that when I did something wrong I brought reflection against my branch of service. A child should feel the same way about his family name. He should be taught to protect it and guard it with his life.

Another thing that is important concerning the obtaining of a good name is avoiding the appearance of evil. Many names are ruined by people who do no wrong but fail to avoid the appearance of evil. Someone has said, "Your character is what you are; your reputation is what man thinks you are." How sad it is when one's reputation does not measure up to his character. His public relations department has fallen behind the production department. He has the goods but cannot deliver them because of a bad reputation.

A child should also be taught to be dependable and punctual. He should be taught to be on time and meet his obligations and appointments. This is simply another way of saying, "His word should be as good as bond." Promises should not be made lightly, carelessly, or indifferently, but rather soberly and seriously.

Many people leave their children with nothing but money and not enough character to keep from squandering it. One of the great things that a child can inherit from his mother and father is a good name. If one is so fortunate to inherit this, he should guard it carefully so his children can share it with him.


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