Training Children in Character

Here are some of my favorite resources for Training Children in Character:

  1. Godly preaching and seminars will help encourage you using God’s Word to listen and tweak or overhaul those weak spots in your parenting. They also help you see those areas you should continue in doing right. When we were new parents a free parenting seminar offered in our church by a local pastor over a weekend sparked our hearts for knowing we needed to have a godly aim in training our children. We enjoyed it so much we bought the CDs from our church bookstore and we still listen to them. (White CDs on book).
  2. The Child Training Bible helps us use God’s Word in preventing and dealing with problems. You can see one of the cards from the set sitting on the Bible. A friend sent this to us and we love it! It can be used as a more organized system of tabbing your Bible with color-coded tabs that match the colors on the card, but we prefer to keep the cards in the front of a Bible that stays on our bookshelf. The usefulness of this tool is easy access to Bible verses when you need them in a teaching moment. The card pictured covers the topics of: anger, complaining, defiance, discouraged, disobedience, fear, and fighting. It can easily be used as “preventative” devotional type teaching as much as it helps when you need to address a heart issue in parenting counseling. The cost is $9 (plus shipping) is a great deal for the time it saves you from individually looking up verses from a concordance.
  3. Bible-based Parenting Books by Christian people can be as good as direct one-on-one parental counseling because you can refer to them again and again. You have to be wise concerning advice often evaluating the spiritual background of the author, it is best to find authors who share the same Biblical beliefs as you do. The book God has directed me to pick up again, Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young (book on the far bottom left of the photo). Their conservative viewpoint of helping parents build up boys to be masculine defenders who protect women and become godly leaders is helping me focus on our 11 year old and 10 year old sons’ needs. You can find their book at their website. *Note: Most of their Biblical references do not come from the KJV Bible and I use my Bible to read the verses.
  4. Reading the book of Proverbs is a regular way of helping children see and understand God’s view of the wise, simple, and scorners. Some people suggest reading a proverb a day to help gain wisdom. For our children we may only read 1-6 verses at a time and describe them in depth. S.M. Davis former pastor and creator of Solving Family Problems preached regular family revivals at our former church and we picked up a copy of the Picture Proverbs Deluxe DVD set he produces (DVD set seen on left middle of photo). On the DVD you view narrated slides of each Proverb complete with sound effects and many Biblical story pictures that can help the children learn a real application of the proverb being taught. He suggests watching one proverb a day with your family and looking up the Bible stories together as a family. There are some other free resources on his website that can be a blessing to you.
  5. Doorposts Resources are excellent for training children. In the photo you can view the Go to the Ant Chart and their book called “Plants Grown Up” which is a project book for helping sons grow into men. We also use their If-Then Chart in our home for rules and direct consequences. Go to the Ant Chart quickly refers you to common character problems that come up when children are supposed to be working and decide to come up with excuses or laziness. Just bring your child to the chart and point to the character issue and ask them to answer the question and then see a section of scripture that instructs them to do right. Plants Grown Up and its’ companion book for girls, Polished Cornerstones, contain projects on specific types of character to build on including memorizing scripture and community and home service. The topics include: virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity each with sub-topics to practically apply them. *Note: Not all of her resources are from the KJV Bible you have to do the job of checking the references. We have adjusted our charts to have a piece of paper cover the verses and have them written in KJV.
  6. Institute in Basic Life Principles Character Booklets are resources to use for family Bible time, individual study, or referencing when you see your child needs growth in an area. We currently have the first 6 booklets which cover: attentiveness, obedience, gratefulness, truthfulness, orderliness, and diligence. Each book highlights a specific animal God created and how its personal characteristics display the character trait being taught. My favorite part of each book is how it highlights how Jesus displayed the character trait when He lived on the earth. Then, each book teaches “how” you are truthful to different authorities in your life, your parents, your boss, civil authorities, etc. If you really want to go all out and make the character teaching really fun they have calendars, collector cards, coloring books, posters and hardback copies of the book sets.

What we have found is these character building resources really help us counsel our children in Biblical answers for character and sin problems. Many times our use of these resources is preventative, we believe in teaching before expecting specific behaviors. They are also corrective helping guides as we show the children when they have done wrong and help them see the problem from God’s perspective.

We also firmly believe the aim is to help our children train the heart to love God and understand His Word, have a good relationship with Him, and learn to reconcile with others they have sinned against. We spend a hefty amount of time counseling, more than I ever expected, coming back to the Word over and over again (betimes) to reinforce our expectations have a root in God’s truths.

The biggest and best part of character training and having good resources is seeing the investment come out of our children into their every day living. When they respond or do right in a temptation circumstance it is a blessing. Honestly it has also helped us be more consistent as parents and grow in our faith, helping us to be faithful and try to avoid hypocrisy as our parenting is open before all their eyes.

I pray and hope if you are focusing on building the inward person of your child you will remember to encourage them and instruct them to salvation in Christ. Unsaved children will struggle in character issues because the Holy Spirit is not naturally guiding them. Keep encouraging them to see their heart problems are sin related and they need the help of the Saviour.

When and if they are saved remember the Christian life is a step-by-step process. Children will excel in many areas and fall back, they will react to life each differently and sometimes forget your instruction. Faithfulness in training and counseling will help you. Our sin and Christian life as parents can also have a profound effect in their attitude and success in character growth. Guard your heart and keep it tender as you teach others for yourself.

May the Lord bless you and help you in your parenting and guide you to the resources that will best fit your family.

(No affiliate links or anything throughout this post, just great helps and information for YOU!)

Advertisements

All Crafting Aside…

One thing I’ve known about myself but maybe never told everyone else because I never thought about it… I’m a recovering craft-a-holic. I’ve been known to dominate half a master bedroom closet in an apartment full of craft supplies in my early marriage years. I’ve been known to be into beading, crafts with scrapbook paper, sewing, bow-making, and wreath-making. I have a love-hate relationship with the hot glue gun and have learned to decoupage, basic painting skills, floral work, and a variety of other hodge-podge crafty nuttiness.

We just moved (yes, again!) and I let go of some of those hoarded crafty “just in case” gems.It was harder than I imagined and a bit of myself escaped when I let go of them because I love crafting! Creativity flows freely from my fingers and brain when I’m doing my crafty thing. Nonetheless, much of it was donated. Large plastic tubs full of stuff dedicated to crafts with no craft time to do them equals a full garage filled with stuff instead of  a vehicle. And when you live in the desert like we do, you want your car in the garage in the hot summer months.

All kidding aside, my heart just had to realize in this season of my life crafting can’t be my obsession or hobby like it has been in the past. So, really, all crafting aside substitutes have taken its place. My husband’s care as he is still working full-time and I am homeschooling and training our children.  We’re still helping in a church, we don’t have huge activities or a full-schedule to keep up with like we have in the past. Don’t feel sorry for me though, it’s been GOOD for us to take a break from the highways of ministry activity.

The crafty girl is still inside me… crying a bit.

She needs to wait on the shelf for really cool projects or fun crafts with the kids… or an opportunity to bless someone or the church with that creative part of me.

Better things have replaced my crafts:

  • Consistency in building the character of our children. Regularly taking time to talk to the kids about heart problems and counselling in those areas.
  • Faithfulness as a Christian example to our children, as it requires my dedication to God.
  • Doing daily tasks and caring for my husband fulfilling my roles as his spouse. Helping the kids learn chores and skills also takes time. I’m prepping them for life y’all!
  • Last year God allowed me to study and create new lessons for our children’s Sunday School class for the summer.

Crafting distraction has never built those things in our life when my attention has been diverted. Oh, believe me, I’ve tried. Many years ago I spent two months creating items to sell at a craft table at a ladies retreat. I found I only broke even money-wise after neglecting my family. They ate at crazy hours around my crafting and the kids were entertained by the television for long hours of the day instead of being watched by their mother. We lost a lot of ground in that time in our children’s behavior and it took much more work to bring our home back into order since crafts had dominated every work space in the house.

The Ministry Mamas Facebook posts have decreased because spending regular time focused on trying to help others was robbing our family too. Helping others blesses me only when it does not negatively affect my family’s well-being. Writing articles here has not happened as much either because a chubby fingered toddler is requiring training and regular supervision (imagine that!). She is a wild mess.

For me, it would be better to put all crafts aside (and any other distraction) and gain the hearts and influence God wants me to have in our home than to indulge in my heart’s fondness to create. It has required shifting creativity elsewhere.

Maybe you share that same feeling of putting a piece of yourself on the shelf for a while to focus on the most important things of family or ministry life.  You’re not less of a person for needing to focus on a different aspect of your family life. You’re not failing because you can’t do it all.

Food for thought: There are times that it would be better not to have the church activity than to kill yourself (and the family) trying to fit in another thing on the schedule. Then, there are other times we need to seek help. There are also times when the people in your home need your focus and attention more than anyone and anything else, not because you don’t want to minister but your ministry is only as effective as the health (physically and spiritually) of your family.

If you have already are the type of person who can easily set things aside or you’re learning those things yourself, you are better because you’ve minimized your distractions.

The lesson is: Don’t indulge in ___(name your thing here)____ to neglect those who God has called you to minister.

Putting things aside, just means you’re hitting the “pause” button in one area of your life so you can push “play” in another. It is in its own way the fulfillment of John 3:30, “He must increase but I must decrease.” When we divert our attention to making God’s priorities our priorities, we are investing in a worthwhile (eternal!) investment that will yield some type of profit as a direct result. It is honing in on the season of life you’re in with no regrets and embracing today as the gift and the purpose for which you are made and able to make a difference.

Do not misunderstand, it is good to have a few personal pleasures and allow yourself brain breaks to escape the trials and mind-work that these other focuses drain out of you. You may be able to get your craft-a-holic self out every once in a while but it may be that it cannot be that one thing you run to regularly to fill your time. The common used phrase says, “You can’t feed others if you don’t feed yourself first.” The same idea is here, if you aren’t feeding the needs of your own personal family then they will starve while you’re handing out the food to others.

Self-Inspection Questions

Does God want me using my time and talents elsewhere?

What does God want me to set aside?

Who or what has He been inviting and calling me to invest my time in instead?

How will I deal with those things that are tempting me to be distracted from God’s plans and purposes for me in this season of my life?

It’s not always easy to give up those things you love or your talented in but there may be a profit to be gained in a spiritual investment if you will be willing to set it aside and focus on God’s invitation to do something different. We never know what God will do with us until we follow Him completely. Run to His will and put all other things aside and give Him the chance to show you some special blessings ahead. Plan ahead to stand before God with no regrets in the investment of your time and your family!

 

Pen Pals for Our Boys {Free Printable Pen Pal Themes for Boys}


Pen Pals for Our Boys

Writing and boys do not always mix well but a ministry mama and I sparked an idea that it would be good for our boys to get to know each other. We live across the country and three time zones apart from each other but hey, who doesn’t need more friends of like faith!? My boys are eleven and ten years old and her boys are about the same age. The boys do have a lot of things in common already but they do not know it… yet!

This dorky writer of a mom may be a little more excited about their pen pals than they are because of my positive experiences of having pen pals. You can read my last article 3 Reasons Ministry Kids Can Benefit From Pen Pals.

After digging around for pen pal ideas for boys (on Pinterest, of course!) I was coming up very empty-handed because most of the ideas are girly. It challenged me to come up with a pen pal theme list for boys to write about or for little things to exchange. Our plan is to have the boys try to write once a month so these ideas won’t break the bank if we send out any of the fun items on the list — like socks, stickers, paper airplanes, rocks, etc. The list also includes creative things to write about or send to each other that won’t cost more than a bit of their creativity (Christmas card, drawings, a secret code, and more!).

My friend and I decided to have the boys use snail mail with these pen pals. My oldest son has already been writing a friend via e-mail who had moved away many years ago. He uploads pictures of our outings and likes to add in emojis to his e-mails and usually keeps them short and sweet. I love both types of pen pals because it gives him experience typing and writing by hand! <– Homeschool mama is coming out there.

Here’s how we’ve started:

These are things I printed out so our kids could share about themselves with their new friend.

All About Me Freebie by Science Doodles on Teachers Pay Teachers*

All About Me Selfie Template by Angela Jerpe on Teachers Pay Teachers (Free)*

This is a free letter writing help for those who may struggle with creating the draft of a letter or need guidance on how to make sure there letter is neat and ready to mail called the Pen Pal Writing Process by Alexandra Henry on Teachers Pay Teachers.*

And a free downloadable Pen Pal Set for Kids from Beyond the Inspiration, complete with downloadable stationery. Some of the papers have lines, others have lines with pictures.*

And here is the Pen Pal Themes for Boys printable I created for our boys. It’s a fun way to keep the excitement of writing your pen pal going and contains gift ideas to send or swap with pen pals. The list is geared toward boys but could be helpful to girls too!

Pen Pal Themes for Boys (<—-Download)

Our oldest son, Uno, chose rocks from his rock collection to share and Dos chose to send an “All About Me” paper with his first letter. I don’t know where these pen pal friendships will take the boys or how long they will last but I hope in my heart that it will be a great experience! We did Flat Stanley many years ago and it was a fun adventure to see all the places Flat Stanley traveled.

Ministry and family life doesn’t have to be boring… keep it fun Mamas, be creative, make connections, and ENJOY!

*Not affliliate links.