"For I have cherished him, because he commands his children and his household after him that they keep the way of Hashem, doing charity and justice…" (18:19)
Rashi explains that Hashem felt endearment and intimate closeness towards Avraham because he instructed his children and household to follow in the ways of Hashem.
It’s worthwhile to note that despite Avraham’s myriad spiritual accomplishments – chesed, outreach, hospitality, the Ten Tests he successfully conquered – it was only Avraham’s practice of educating his children and household to follow in the ways of Hashem that earned him this special level of Hashem’s endearment.
We would be wise to take note and redouble our commitment to the Chinuch (Jewish education) of our children accordingly.
Rav Michel Barenbaum, ZTL (Sichos Mussar) draws a different lesson here. He notes that most people believe that Hashem primarily judges an individual, or even exclusively so, based upon his own individual, personal accomplishments. This is not the Torah point of view.Unless a person creates a love for Hashem in others – such as the members of one’s household and one’s children – then that individual will most certainly fall short of meeting his own individual potential or being deemed of great accomplishment when his deeds will be weighed according to Hashem’s criteria of judgment.