Consider these tips/steps when exercising your family's character muscle.
Choose a new character quality every week or every month. Ask the Lord to reveal to you what character quality your family should work on.
Pray and ask the Lord for help to live out godly character. Remember that good character is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, not the fruit of self (Galatians 5:22-23). If your child has not believed in Jesus as their Savior, then you may want to focus on teaching the Gospel to your child. CLICK HERE FOR GOSPEL RESOURCES. If a child is not saved, they will not have the motivation or ability for true godly character because their spirit is dead (1 Corinthians 2:14). While good behavior is always important, it is empty without the Holy Spirit.
Memorize the definition.
Study what the Bible says about that character quality. Use a website like Blue Letter Bibleor a concordance to find verses relating to that character quality. You can use other study tools like a Bible dictionary or commentary to learn more as well.
Memorize a Bible verse that will encourage your family in this quality.
Look for ways to exercise this quality. Exercising good character is exactly that...exercise. It might be challenging and unnatural at first, but the more one does it, the better one get.
Discuss the difference between outward behavior and having the right heart attitude.
Teach this character quality to your family through object lessons, songs, stories, activity pages, etc. See the Character Resource section below for help.
Look for blind spots. Explain to your children that when you are correcting their character that you are doing so to help them. If you have older children, you could teach them to ask for help from family, friends, teachers, grandparents, mentors, etc. to hold them accountable or point out times when this character quality is not displayed. Be willing and humble to receive "correction" from other members of your family (spouse, or even children) when you are not displaying this quality.
Share your testimony. If you have a personal testimony of when you did or did not apply this character quality, or when this quality was a struggle for you, that could be helpful for your children to learn from your experiences.
Give practical examples. If your children are having a hard time seeing how to apply this character quality, you may want to give them practical examples or scenarios to talk through or role play. You could also help them anticipate their choices by saying, "When ____ situation happens, how can you show ______? (character quality)"
Praise and discipline with character. Look for opportunities to praise or discipline your children with character, especially the one being studied. You could say something like, "When you did _______, that did/did not show _________ (character quality) because __________." Praising and discipling with character focuses on things that the child can change, versus things that they cannot (e.g. "you are so talented", "you are pretty", "you are clumsy"). It also focusses on the heart attitude/motive versus just the outward behavior. It is also more meaningful versus "good job".
Pray and ask the Lord to bless you with this character quality. Ask him for opportunities to exercise this quality in your life (and don't get mad when he does!)
Ask God to bless those who are lacking this quality. Probably as your family studies this character quality, it will be easy to notice family members or friends who are NOT displaying this character quality. It may be easy to be impatient with them or want to "fix" them and tell them what to do. Only God can change their heart or behavior. YOU cannot.
Frequently reflect on your character journey. Start a character journal where you or your child can write down one way that he or she did or did not demonstrate the featured character quality each day/week during the duration of the quality. Older children can write about their experiences; young children can draw pictures. Reflect on this journal together so that you can do tip #16.
Celebrate the small and big character accomplishments.A celebration could be as simple as a verbal acknowledgment or praise that the quality was intentionally applied. Another idea is keeping a chart and when a child consistently shows the featured character quality then a certain reward is given. A certificate could be given at the end if this is big accomplishment for them.
Study people in history, or in modern day, that have or have not shown this character quality and the results.
Study the antonym of this character quality. Compare/contrast the positive and negative impacts of this character quality and its antonym.
Achieving True Success: Building a Character Family(Book) - One page simple description about 49 character qualities. Good for an introductory understanding of the quality and includes a couple practical action steps to apply each character quality in the family.
Parenting with Scripture - A topical guide for teachable moments by Kara Durbin
Get Wisdom!23 Lessons for Children about Living for Jesus by Ruth Younts - Very easy read and workbook for elementary age children. Includes an activity, memory verse, and discussion parents can have with their children.
Book for “Discipline Talks” - God, I Need to Talk to You About... by Dan Carr/Susan Susan
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