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Friday, January 13, 2012

Teaching Godly Character

Raising our children to have Godly character is the number one reason our family has chosen to homeschool. We believe it is far more important than academics. We pray that our children are little lighthouses everywhere they go - that the character of Christ shines through to the world around them.
The goal of instructing our children in Godly character is that they are equipped and motivated to make right decisions even in our absence. With all of our children, we have made it a goal to give them the moral reason why we instruct them to do this or that. Just to say, "Because I said so," all the time doesn't teach them how to think morally. So we've made a concerted effort to say something more, for example, like, "We don't throw our garbage on the ground. If everyone did that, our community would be a junkyard. It wouldn't be very pleasant to live here, would it? Putting your garbage in the trash can is being considerate of others."
A lot of character training happens naturally, as life happens. But I also purpose to instruct my children in different character qualities using the Character Qualities chart I found on the Duggars' website. The Duggars didn't create this chart - it actually came from Bill Gothard's ministry, "Institute of Basic Life Principles." I focus on one box from the chart each week. Each Monday, I teach the children about the particular character quality we're talking about. I define it for them. I have them look up the Scripture reference given. We talk about the opposite behavior, and then what it looks like in real life, perhaps even acting it out.
Throughout the week, I look for the character quality being played out. I make a big deal to praise when I see a Godly character in action. I also make sure I am living it out before them.
I think it is very important for our children to have a Biblical foundation of God's commands for us as Christians. How else will they know if we don't teach them? The Bible instructs is in Deuteronomy 6 to "5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." This must become part of our lifestyles - the lifestyle of being a full-time, Godly-character child-trainer. What a privilege!

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