You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. -Deuteronomy 6:7

Monday, July 15, 2013

Character Training!

One of the reasons we home school our kids, is so we can teach them character as well as academics.

We’ve been so encouraged by other families.  One family was particularly encouraging to us without even knowing it.  When we saw how their 10 children all treated each other we thought, “That’s what we want in our family!”
They shared their family “guidelines” with us and we were so amazed by their family’s love for each other that we decided to use their list and tweak it a bit for our family.

We call it “guidelines” and not “rules” for a reason.  We know none of us is perfect – and many times a day we probably need to ask for forgiveness for all those imperfections!  Rather, this is something we are striving for each day.

George Family Guidelines:

1.     Always use soft words, even when you don’t feel well.

2.     Always display kind actions and joyful attitudes, even if you have been mistreated. Have the right response by quickly forgiving others in your heart even before they ask.

3.     Always be enthusiastic and look for opportunities to praise others' character.

4.     Always deflect praise and be grateful to God and others for the ways they have benefited your life.

5.     Always use manners and be respectful of others and their belongings.

6.     Always do what is right, even when others may not, or when no one is looking.

7.     Thank God for how He made you, for what He has given you and everything He allows you to go through. (Romans 8:28)

8.     Don’t mock or put others down. Develop compassion and pray for others.

9.     Never argue, complain, or blame. Quickly admit when you have done wrong and ask for forgiveness (even if you were only 10% at fault). Don't wait till you’re caught. Be sure your sins will find you out. He who covers his sin will not prosper, but he that confesses and forsakes it shall find mercy.

10.   Have a tough accountability/prayer partner to daily share your heart with and to keep you in line (your parents, spouse). The power of sin is in secrecy.

11.   Be attentive and look for ways to serve others with sincere motives and no thought of self-gain.

12.   Think pure thoughts (Philippians 4:8, Romans 13:14).

13.   Always give a good report of others. Don't gossip! Never tale-bear unless physical harm will come to someone. (Use Matthew 18.)

14.   Never raise a hand to hit.

15.   Never raise a foot to kick.

16.   Never raise an object to throw.

17.   Never raise a voice to yell.

18.   Never raise an eye to scowl.

19.   Use one toy/activity at a time. Share!

20.   Do your best to keep your surroundings neat, clean and organized.

21.   Never let the sun go down on your wrath.
(Don’t go to bed angry or guilty)

22.   Amendment J.O.Y. -
-Put Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.

Building Character

Another thing we have begun doing a couple of years ago is studying the Character Qualities.  These are 49 character qualities with what is called the “operational definition.”  The operational definition is what helps us understand how we should apply this to our lives.  The Wisdom Booklets we use from ATI are a help in this area as each unit of study has a character quality associated with it.  But we also have Character Sketches books, a Character Quality game and booklets with stories and examples of other famous people in history who exhibited these qualities.  Most importantly, we must model the behavior ourselves as parents (this is the hard part to be sure!)

Too often in today’s media, those who do not exhibit these qualities are shown doing so with no consequences, or even worse, shown as heroes in the story.  We think this sends the wrong message to our children (and to us!) as we subconsciously become “numb” to these wrong behaviors.

This course of study becomes a part of our lives as it weaves through everything we do, all day long.  We also realize that as we teach these to our children, we ourselves are convicted by God.  I might think, “Oh Lord, I don’t want to teach on this topic because it’s painful to see how I’ve failed at this throughout my life.”  God is teaching Keith and me while we teach our children.  Sometimes I’ll just humble myself and admit this to my kids.  I say that while Mommy is teaching them, God is teaching ME how to teach them. 

We have a long way to go, but we’re thankful for the many resources we’ve been given through ATI and for the wonderful families who have shown us what the fruit of these things look like:  Teenagers who are not rebellious but are loving in spirit to others both inside and outside of their families and children who are hard-working and responsible.  It’s a wonderful thing to see and we now realize that this IS possible.  But it is a journey that is for sure!

For a PDF download of the Character Qualities click here:

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