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: Alertness

I mentioned the Character Qualities in an earlier post… we teach these using our Wisdom Booklets each day.  I thought it might be fun to share a post on the Character Quality we are working on each month.  While I recommend teaching first Attentiveness and Obedience, I’m starting with a different quality since it is the one we’re learning about this month. (I start with Attentiveness because, if I can’t get my kids’ attention, then I’ll never get their heart!)


Definition: Watchful and prompt to meet danger or emergency, quick to perceive and act.

Operational Definition (aka: How I apply this to my life): Being aware of that which is taking place around me so I can have the right response to it.

Activities and discussions we have around the quality of Alertness:

-          Expand the word by learning (or recalling) synonyms and antonyms.

-          Discuss related qualities that bring balance, such as: Discretion, discernment, gentleness, forgiveness, humility

-          Discuss how God sees differently than we see

-          Decide three ways we as a family can demonstrate this quality this month.  Some ideas we came up with:

o   Notice and greet visitors at church with a smile

o   Listen to and look at those who speak to us

o   Notice and meet needs around the house.

We actually had a great opportunity to put this to action by visiting a nursing/assisted living home where the residents had the need for visitors.  And we were so blessed by them.  Perhaps more than they were blessed by us!

Alertness in our home also includes:

·         Looking for and praising ways that family members have displayed good

·         Sensing that seemingly harmless activities could lead to bad influences and
wrong friends

·         Being aware that participation in certain activities and wearing certain clothing
could attract the wrong friends and weaken the trust of authorities

·         Practicing preventative maintenance with household appliances and personal

We also relate the Character Quality to many scriptures by identifying people in the Bible who did or did not demonstrate this quality – and then what happened as a result.  My son said, “Whoever says the Bible is boring… must not have ever read it!”  I’ll say “Amen” to that.  It’s more exciting than anything Hollywood has to offer – and more useful too.  J

We also take time to learn a related hymn.  This month it is the hymn: “Open My Eyes That I May See.”  We learn the history of the hymn and then we listen to it and sing with the CD.  (I am not much of a singer so I’m so happy to have this CD with all the hymns on it, which are all related to the Character Qualities!)

It’s a joy to see the kids singing this tune as they work – even after only learning the first few verses.

We also reference our large Character Sketches books which take the learning to a whole new level.  Each quality is related to animals in nature and stories are told about them.  In the process of learning about the animal, there is geography and history learnings which come from that.  There are additional stories of people in the Bible as well and they are written in such a way that it keeps the learning interesting for all ages.  I’ve learned so much more about these stories myself, as we read through the Character Sketches books.  You can find information about the Character Sketches books here:
A chance to be alert to needs of others, while at the nursing home

Then it is my job (mom) to be very ALERT and look for my children demonstrating this quality.  It could be that D remembers to clear the table after dinner, or K picks up a scrap of paper on the floor and throws it away – anything, big or small.  I immediately say, “Wow, look at how alert you are!”  Then at night, I am sure to call out all the examples I’ve seen of alertness in front of dad during Bible time.  I’ve learned it’s important to praise kids in front of as many people as possible, as that praise multiplies by the number of people that hear it!
Related Bible memory scripture:  And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain….”  Matthew 5:1

"Watch thou and wake when others be asleep."

"To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to

acquire wisdom, one must observe."
--Maryln vos Savant

"It is the providence of knowledge to speak, and it is
the privilege of wisdom to listen.
--Oliver Wendell Holmes

"He that walks with wise men shall be wise."

"The end of argument or discussion should be, not

victory, but enlightenment."
--Joseph Joubert

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