If you are new to my blog, welcome! We are in the middle of some parenting posts. Today I want to share some practical ways we can learn and live God's truths with our kids. If you're just joining us, please read Wednesday's and Thursday's post to help this all make sense.
I eventually took down our poster board, which was faded and falling apart after a few years. I had started speaking and had lots of moms asking me to create a chart for the. I wanted it to be more easily accessible - something I could keep on my kitchen table or on the refrigerator, so I designed the Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child character chart in the size of a calendar. We had them professionally printed and are about to go into our third printing this month.
The chart includes 24 character traits. It has four columns for each train. The first column lists the traits as "Golden Attitudes and Actions" with a child-friendly definition for each trait. The second column includes a corresponding "nugget of truth" (Bible verse) for each trait. The third column is called "Bring it to the Surface" and includes three ways we can live out each trait and put it into action. The fourth column lists the "dirt" (sinful traits) that bury the gold within.
Although the concept is geared toward kids between 4-11, the principles can be adapted to live and learn with older kids, too. Having easy access to the information makes it so much more doable for me. And I have to say, God has used it to shape my character and make me more aware of how I can act and thinking like He does.
Here are a few simple steps to get you started (either with the MFG chart or with a list of traits you create yourself):
Discuss the Value of Character
Talk with your children about the importance of character. Explain to them that God is most concerned with who we are on the inside, which is reflected in our character. To get familiar with the different character traits, review one trait along with the definition and verse each day or so for the next month.
Determine to Learn and Live God’s Word
After reviewing the traits, look for ways to live out a golden attitude or action and verse each week. Each character trait includes a definition and a list of ways you can model it in everyday life. When our kids were younger, we put the verses to the tune of a favorite song or made up a jingle of our own. It really helps the kids and us memorize the verse that goes with each trait.
Dig for Pre-existing Nuggets of Gold
Give this new adventure a positive start. Look for attributes that come naturally for your child. Here are a few examples to help you identify the gold already hidden within:
- Is your child compassionate — caring about someone who got hurt on the playground?
- Is your child generous — offering to give a friend one of her toys or part of her snack?
- Is your child responsible —taking out the trash or making his bed without being asked?
Develop a Reward System
Be sure to praise your children for showing good character. Take time at dinner, in the car and at bedtime to talk about ways you and your children have lived out the traits and verses. Kids live for affirmation.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed
Teaching character doesn’t have to be another to do on your list. God wants it to be an everyday part of your life. But it will take some time and some tools to help you get started. Here's how I have formatted each trait in the chart.
Use Kind Words
Speak with words that honor others.
Bring It to the Surface
Say thanks if someone does something for you or gives something to you.
Say please when asking for something.
Tell others what you like about them.
Dirt that Buries the Gold
Sarcasm: Proverbs 4:24
Rudeness: Ephesians 4:29
Bragging: James 4:16
You may want to develop your own list of traits, verses and ideas on index cards, or click on this link to find out more about the"Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child" chart. It includes everything you’ll need in a simple format to make it easy and fun. And I'll be giving two sets today, too.
I would love to hear what traits you'd like to start learning and living with your family!
Copyright 2009, Rene Swope - All rights reserved.
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