"It's not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us."
Oh, the mistakes we have made in our parenting. Walter and I were young parents and had very little teaching or parenting skills. We knew the basics....feed them, bathe them, and love them. We did all of that. But what about the HARD stuff? Like discipline, homeschooling, and teaching them godly character?
We took parenting classes, read books, and spent time in #prayer. I've often said that I am a much better parent to my younger children...and it's been through trial and error that we gained our knowledge.
One area that we wished we would have focused on was Godly character. Oh, we told our kids to be nice to each other, stop fighting, do their chores...you know, all the stuff your parents said to you. But why wasn't it working? I was yelling, the house was a mess, and I was ready to put my kids in school. Things had to change.
Walter and I went into prayer and we believe that God led us towards some solutions. One of those solutions was the Institute in Basic Life Principles Character Booklets.
Each booklet focuses on a #Godly character trait. For example, attentiveness, obedience, forgiveness, and many more. We pick one character trait per month and focus our teaching and training on that trait.
Let me share an example of how we integrated this into our family bible study and homeschool.
In our study of Ancient History, we studied the life of Esther. This was a great opportunity to introduce the character trait of Decisiveness. Each booklet gives the #character trait definition along with a memory verse.
As we gathered around for our nightly devotions we read the definition and repeated the memory verse. Each booklet gives a bible story of the character trait and an animal that would have that trait. As a family, we read the book of Esther aloud and watched the movie, One Night With the King (one of my favorites!)
I assigned Victoria (my 12-year-old) to read the story of Cinderella. She had to compare the story of Cinderella to the story of Esther. She had to include the character trait in her writing and how it was shown in Esther's life. The boys had to retell the story from the King's perceptive...and wow what a difference!
The Institute in Basic Life Principles has some new character booklets that we love! These new books focus on a character trait, a bible story, several memories verses, and a hymn. They also come with coloring pages, ideas to implement the trait, and activity pages.
We have just completed the character trait of Forgiveness.
Here is what we did
We began by gathering in the living room for family devotions. We asked each child to state something that was irritating them about one of their siblings...in a kind voice. So, one of the boys stated that another boy was leaving the bathroom a mess. Another child stated frustration that a sibling was not listening well to them when they had to work together on a project. No major issues, but issues did remain.
We then read the story of the Prodigal Son. We talked about how his father welcomed him home...and he didn't even say he was sorry! We started our character study by saying that real forgiveness takes place when you can forgive others, even if they never apologize. That we must learn to love unconditionally, for real love covers a multitude of sins.
We then read our definition of forgiveness and said our memory verse. We ended our devotion that evening by practicing, "I forgive you" to each other. The kids were all laughing and joking as they turned to their sibling and said: "I forgive you for not flushing the toilet." (seriously!?)
How did we implement forgiveness throughout the month?
First, we started by teaching the children to ask each other for #forgiveness when they had wronged another person. We had them practice saying, "I'm sorry I _________(fill in the blank). Please forgive me." This is not easy! It requires one to be humble.
As the parents, we made sure the children could hear us saying that to each other. Learning to communicate in love is a learned skill that our large family must practice daily.
We continued each evening by reading the definition and reviewing the memory verse.
Then Walter and I shared some personal insight and testimony on how our marriage is based on forgiveness and what forgiveness looks like in the life of a believer. As the month progressed we talked about salvation and asking the Lord to forgive us of our sins. We encouraged our children to look within themselves and examine their hearts.
Were they holding grudges? Hate? Unforgiveness?
This was a powerful study in our home. Forgiveness is not always easy and it does not always come quickly. But with God, ALL things are possible!
We ended our study by reading and studying the story of Joseph. Joseph had every reason to seek revenge towards his brothers. But instead, he showed great love and forgiveness.
Why do we care about teaching character traits to our children?
Simple...we don't want our children to be little robots that perform and "behave" just when others are around.
Our prayer is that these Godly character traits will go down deep into their hearts and become a moral compass that will guide their life.
The biblical character booklets from the Institute of Basic Life Principles have changed our parenting. We no longer just instruct our children, but rather take the time and teach then the biblical reason as of WHY we need to show such character in our lives.
These booklets are beautifully illustrated, simple for the parent to use, and very well laid out for family devotions. We highly recommend the character booklets to your family!
"A persons character is shown through their actions in life- NOT where they sit on Sunday morning."
Have you used the IBLP Character booklets? If so, let me know what you thought about them in the comment section below! If you haven't read it yet, be sure to get yourself a copy!
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We want to hear from you! What do you use in your household to help strengthen your children's character? Which character traits do you focus on the most?
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