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Robert and Rebekah Greenlaw estimate they have taught over 20,000 teachers and parents in many countries, including Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia. Educators from all backgrounds come to learn how they can resolve family conflicts through character training based on life principles. Four key concepts changed them from sibling rivals to world role models.
This brother-and-sister team from Texas is traveling to countries around the world, speaking at government-arranged seminars on family harmony and to other groups. Thousands of teachers, professionals, and parents sit in rapt attention as Robert and Rebekah teach the principles of character that are so powerfully illustrated in their lives.
The harmony that these leaders and parents see wasn’t always there. Robert recalls, “When we were growing up, we competed with each other in whatever we did. Whether it was who would earn the highest grades in school, who would sit in the front seat of the car, or even who would reach the mailbox first, everything we did resulted in competition.
“Then, one day, our parents made a startling decision—they told us we would be home educated. At first, I wasn’t sure how we would survive. I was stuck with my biggest rival all day, every day.
“However, when we were twelve and thirteen, our parents took us to a Basic Youth Conflicts Seminar in Houston, Texas. When I walked in the door, I thought, “Wow, all these people, just to hear one man speak?”
“But then as I listened, I learned four powerful truths that not only stopped our rivalry, but made us the best friends that we are today.”
“On that first night, I learned that God took special care to design each family and to place just the right people in it. This meant that God gave me Rebekah as my older sister, and if I rejected her, I was actually rejecting God’s design for our family. I decided that night to thank God for my sister, and I started to appreciate her as a gift rather than an irritation.”
“On Thursday night, I learned how conflicts are caused when I demand my personal rights and that I should yield these rights to the Lord. I sat there thinking of all the fights we suffered because I wanted things done ‘my way,’ and they were over the most insignificant things, too. By giving our expectations to God, Rebekah and I no longer held onto our own wills, but let God work things out in His way.”
“During the Seminar, I also learned how Rebekah’s firstborn tendencies and my secondborn tendencies affected our relationship. She tended to take charge and delegate jobs to me. Meanwhile, I was looking for acceptance and approval. As we came to better understand our tendencies and needs, we were able to cooperate with each other and accomplish things without tension.”
“At the Advanced Seminar, we learned about spiritual gifts. For the first time, I understood what motivates Rebekah—exhortation—and the natural strengths and weaknesses that come with that gift. I was also able to pinpoint what motivates me—organization—and its natural tendencies.
“Instead of being frustrated with our differences, we see how perfectly suited we are to work with each other if we will capitalize on our gifts.
“These four truths have transformed our relationship and allowed us to work as a team all over the world. We hope that every family can enjoy the wonderful fellowship we have as best friends.”
When they were still in their teens Robert and Rebekah began teaching at Children’s Institutes held in conjunction with the Institute in Basic Life Principles’ (IBLP) Basic Seminars. Later, they were invited to be part of a team that was asked to develop a pilot program to teach character in schools using illustrations from nature and historical figures, in cooperation with the educational leaders of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
That program eventually became Character First!® Education and is now part of the Character Training Institute, Inc., an organization that was founded and incorporated in 1999 by an Oklahoma City businessman.
Copyright © 2002–2011, William (Bill) Gothard. All Rights Reserved.