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!)

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Q&A: Personal Space for Kids, Father’s Day, & KJV Devotionals

Today we have a great variety of questions for you to read, perhaps some of these questions will help you come up with some solutions to questions that you might have but have never asked. The first question and answer tackles what you can do when someone violates your child’s personal space. We have personally had this happen to us in our ministry as well and I love the answer the ministry wife provided. Father’s Day is around the corner and these ladies have some great ideas for what type of gifts they are going to give out this year. Do you ever wonder if there is King James devotionals for you and your family to read together? Several women gave some great answers of resources I had never heard of before. And what do you give to a shut-in that is not food related? Read all the answers below!

Q & A 1

Q: “We consistently have a church member who violates my children’s personal space. They do not seem to be a threat in any way but they just do not seem to know they don’t want them in their face, etc. I know it makes our children uncomfortable and I see them avoiding this person when they speak to them and now in general. Is there something I should/could say to the person? or should I just leave it up to the kids to allow them to have as much or as little to do with them as possible?”

A: We have a man in our church that likes to hug. That normally wouldn’t be an issue but he hugs and holds on, keeping you hostage to his grip. He makes me and my kids very uncomfortable. Others in the church don’t have an issue with it. We just had a talk with our children and instructed them to keep an eye for him so that when he starts to approach they can position themselves in such a way as to not allow him the opportunity to grab them. If that’s not possible, they’re to leave and avoid the situation altogether. If he manages to get to them without them noticing they are to pull away and put their hand out to shake his hand. Surprisingly, it’s worked really well. I think he got the picture pretty quickly and now refrains from even trying. My opinion is, when it comes to my children I’ll do/say whatever is necessary to make them feel safe and protected. If they’re uncomfortable it’s my responsibility as a parent to deal with it, not them. I will say too, our congregation likes to hug…a lot! I don’t like it at all. I don’t mind hugging, I just don’t think it needs to take place in the church. Especially when you have people of the opposite sex doing it, no matter the age. I know there have been times that visitors have come and have felt very uncomfortable by it. I wish we had a no-hug policy and stuck to strictly hand shaking.

Q: “Can you give me some of your creative Father’s Day ideas for gifts as well as special things you do in the church service for the men on Father’s Day?”

    • “Coffee cups always went over well for us or gift certificates for coffee.”
    • “We have done ties, tools, pocket knives, and flashlights.”
    • “We’re giving a hammer with the phrase “Love building memories with you” on it in vinyl.”
    • “A nice collection of steaks to be grilled. A win for everyone!”
    • “I’m thinking about making them a large snickers cupcakes and putting it in a box. This is our first Father’s Day for our church.”
    • “We’ve done several good ones: a bottle of Dad’s root beer, a Payday candy bar (everyone deserves an extra payday), cheap but nice socks rolled up into balls that we threw out from the pulpit to the men standing, like baseballs, they loved it!”

Q: “I want to give a gift to some elderly women in our church, some are shut-in’s and others have had their children precede them in death. Is there a practical and heartfelt gift that I could give them that is not food related?”

  • A small flower arrangement, something to brighten their day.
  • “I guess it’s technically food, but I’ve given flavored tea bags as gifts with a nice card and they seem to go over really well. Classy, no fuss.”

Q: “I’m looking for a good King James Version (KJV) family devotional or children’s devotional, do you have any suggestions of good material that you have personally used?”

  • “Arch Books has good Bible stories, Leading Little Ones to God, 95 Animals of the Bible, Noel (story about a lion from Bill Rice), Super (story about a dog from Bill Rice), Cowboy Boots in Darkest Africa, Thrilling Western Stories vol. 1 and 2 from Bill Rice. We also have a The Picture Bible and that has Bible stories in illustrated/ cartoon form and has follow-up Bible questions. We also have done devotions that don’t have KJV verses and just read them in KJV.” (Find the Bill Rice books for kids here.)
  • Call to Glory or Mercy and Truth are great!”
  • “If your child is old enough to read, the Glow in the Dark Jr. Devotional is excellent. My son uses it & LOVES it!”
  • “We use Call to Glory, Call to Glory Kids, & Glow in the Dark Jr. Devotionals.”
  • “Not a devotional, but we have a Child Training Bible that has specific topics you can go over, I ordered a kit bought a Bible and set it up. It took some time to put together but I enjoyed it and now it is very useful to show the kids out of the Bible why something is not okay.”

*Note this article does not contain affiliate links. The links have been provided to help you find these resources quickly and easily.

Prayers Go Up, Tears Come Down

I try to keep a good balance of subjects related to the ministry on the blog and my goal has always been to write about my experiences as a ministry wife and mother as well as other articles related specifically to help people in ministry. Today I just want to write about the prayers going up and tears coming down in my heart.

Last week our deacon with the brain cancer passed away. The rest of my husband’s week has been consumed with taking care of helping the family make the service arrangements. He has allowed our pastor to have some cushion of his time to prepare for the sermons that have needed to be ready for Sunday and the memorial service. My husband expressed, “I feel like I have been so busy with getting things ready that I cannot even be sad until after the memorial service.”

We see it too, the busyness that surrounds the preparations for the funeral. He was a police officer and formerly in the navy and the community’s outpouring of love toward this family has been enormous. Our little church is expecting more people in our building than we have ever had before. It is amazing to see how the Lord has worked over the past years to be able to host and minister. Our hearts yearn for souls to be saved and people to understand the gospel’s message clearly so they can have the peace that passes all understanding like this family has had. This man’s entire goal was to remain faithful until the end.  You see, he had battled this cancer before and been in remission until it came back with 16 tumors this time. His last diagnosis was weeks or months to live but the Lord gave him another year and a half. Personally and for our church it has been a long road of prayer and support and we feel the loss greatly.

As church staff we were close to them, but we are still outsiders to the family’s grief. We are hurting and grieving mildly with a bit of rejoicing knowing that our prayers are truly answered and he has been healed to the fullest extent possible. He is at peace with our Saviour. The tears and sadness I feel is for their family and I realize that I cannot minister to them without praying. I believe that I can serve them with my actions, but my prayers will do what I cannot.

As people come in to offer their condolences, I am not sure another set of words from my mouth will be any different from the person that has spoken to them already or will speak to them after me. My words, believe it or not, in situations like these never come out the way I want them to. So, I will pray and ask the Lord to meet the needs of their hearts that only He knows. I will pray that God will protect them from hurt during this time of tenderness. I will pray and ask Him to speak to them from His Word. I will pray that they will not stray through confusion, but will rest in God’s promises. I will pray that God will be the husband to this widow and the father to these fatherless.  I will pray that as his parents are now childless that their bosoms will be filled with love for their daughter-in-law and their grandchildren.

As the tears fall down, my prayers will go up because any words I say will not be as good as the comfort that God gives.

So, as you go through these sad times of grieving for saints that have gone on to heaven, please remember to surround their family with prayer not for weeks, but for at least a year. They need your loving prayer support as much as they may need some of your physical support. God will fill in the gaps when you may feel helpless. He is the God of all comfort!