As parents, passing on good character to our children is a priority. Even before starting a family, many of us recognize the benefits of encouraging traits of good character, such as integrity, honesty, and compassion in our children. However, character development is a continuing process as our children grow and learn, and it’s something that not only must be taught but exhibited. That’s right, that means watching our own behaviors, words, and even facial expressions to examine what we may subconsciously be passing onto our children. We are the largest influences in our children’s lives, which means being a good role model. You know that old phrase, “Do as I say, not as I do”? Even the least experienced parent is probably aware such an approach doesn’t work well with children!
The Importance of Character Training
Instead of merely focusing on character development, we like to incorporate elements of dedicated character training. As with any other skill, good character must be taught and developed with practice and opportunities. How then, do you work on character training in a homeschool environment? Thankfully, homeschooling lends itself perfectly to including character development. Consider the flexibility of your homeschool schedule. Personally, we love including read-alouds with good values and monthly themes of solid character traits to work on. Additionally, positive reinforcement and praise is always the best motivation!
Character development is a slow process. However, the journey, while both challenging and beautiful, is worthwhile. To that end, we are dedicating a monthly series of resources and encouragement to help homeschooling parents with character training their children. This is the first installment, and our printables this month focuses on both honesty and humility. We believe honesty and humility are foundational character traits and essential to our life of following Christ. Consequently, they are a great starting line for a character development study!
If you need further convincing, here are a few top reasons why it’s essential to include an element of character training in your homeschool!
- You are your child’s superhero. They will repeat your behaviors, good or bad.
- Honesty and selfless acts are not necessarily second nature. These are actions and virtues all of us must learn to appreciate and respect.
- Planted seeds must be tended. Metaphorically, you are planting seeds of character development by your own actions. However, those seeds won’t flourish without care. Character training will continue the work — the seeds — you’ve already begun.
Character Training: Honesty
Merriam-Webster defines honesty as: “adherence to the facts, sincerity,” as well as, “fairness and straightforwardness of conduct.” Honesty speaks more to who we are as a person than to anyone else. Our dedication to honest speech and behavior reveals our integrity. Depending on the situation, while it occasionally may not seem like another person deserves our honesty or related kindness, the choice is not about other people. Rather, it is entirely about the type of person we choose to be.
When you focus on character training with your homeschooler, it is important to address the reason behind our actions or preferences. Even if it is not immediately apparent, there is always a reason for our lessons. For example, one of the reasons honesty is important is because dishonesty breaks a person’s trust.
In addition to our free printables, here are a few exercises and games you can work on together with your students while studying honesty.
- Free Planting Honesty Activity with Kids
- The Lie Monster: A Free Printable Story About Honesty
- Button, Button: A Game About Lying and Honesty
- Honesty Object Lesson
- 4 Fun Ways to Teach Children About Telling the Truth
Character Training: Humility
Just as with honesty, it is important to begin any study with a definition. We cannot learn about a topic without first knowing what it is and how it applies to our lives. Humility is defined as “freedom from pride or arrogance.” This is an intriguing definition, as many of us probably don’t associate humility with the thought of freedom. If freedom is involved, it’s implied that pride and arrogance are traits from which we need liberation. Does that mean we are naturally inclined toward prideful actions or arrogant thoughts? Is humility something we need to consistently work towards until it becomes a greater habit or inclination than pride?
These are all discussion points to touch on with your child according to your own preferences and views. Regardless of exact answers, humility is integral to polite and considerate communication among society, and an important aspect of Christ’s followers.
Dig Deeper with a Bible Study
You might want to incorporate an extension activity for your older children. You can encourage them to do a daily Bible study on all the mentions of Honesty and Humility that are found in the Bible. We’ve enjoyed seeing all the various ways the Scripture addresses these particular character traits.
- I John 3:18
- Proverbs 11:3
- I John 1:6
- Romans 13:7
- Matthew 5:8
- Proverbs 16:28
- II Timothy 2:15
- Psalm 37:7
- James 3:17
- Proverbs 3:27
Humility Scripture References
- Ephesians 4:2
- Philippians 2:3
- Proverbs 11:2
- Romans 12:16
- James 4:10
- I Peter 3:3-4
- Colossians 3:12
- Proverbs 29:23
- Proverbs 22:4
- II Chronicles 7:14
- I Peter 5:6
- James 3:13