This post is a response to two posts I read recently, one by Honestly Frum and one by Rabbi Horowitz.
I think that the most abused idea in Judaism today is the concept of "talmud torah k'neged kulam".
The yeshivish world focuses solely on learning and becoming a talmud chacham. They don't focus at all on working on yourself to have better middos. I guess that the rationale is that through learning they will become better people.
The problem is that if you don't work on your middos, you aren't even an acceptable vessel to receive the Torah. The torah won't change you into a better person, rather your bad middos will pervert the Torah you learn. Just like someone who learns without washing netilas yadayim in the morning, the torah that is learned is worthless.
Think of the Torah as the most pure water in the world, and the person learning the Torah as a cup. A person witout good middos is like a vile, dirty cup. Any water that is poured into it will be sullied by the nastiness of the cup.
Teach your kids to work on their middos.