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!
How to Teach a Child Character
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.
Teaching Our Children Wisdom
Wisdom is a foundational character trait that is the basis for so many other traits that we would love to instill in our children. Wisdom isn’t simply intelligence or knowledge, but the ability to use God’s Word along with both of those to make choices that are beneficial and productive, not just now but for the future. Living out wisdom also requires us to stop and think before we act. The best way to teach our children wisdom is to live it out before them!
Teaching Our Children Compassion
Compassion is a concern for the misfortunes of others along with a desire to help them. Compassion is usually shown through these synonyms of the word: care, concern, tenderness, empathy, kindness, consideration, sympathy, and charity. Encouraging a heart of compassion in our children is vital to teaching them how to make a difference in their neighborhood and community.
Teaching Our Children Contentment
Contentment is a character trait that has a twin, gratitude. Contentment and gratitude go hand in hand. When we are grateful we are usually content. Both of these character traits represent a state of satisfaction and happiness with the blessings that one has been given.
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.
Scripture verses that demonstrate Wisdom:
- Psalm 37:30
- Proverbs 1:7
- Proverbs 3:7
- Ecclesiastes 2:26
- I Corinthians 1:25
- Colossians 2:2-3
- James 3:17
Scripture verses that demonstrate Compassion:
- Exodus 33:19
- Isaiah 30:18
- Isaiah 49:10
- Isaiah 54:10
- Colossians 3:12
- James 5:11
Scripture verses that demonstrate Contentment:
- Philippians 4:12-13
- I Timothy 6:6-7
- Hebrews 13:5
- Luke 12:15
- Psalm 37:3-4
- Proverbs 28:6