I get asked a lot about how to teach children good character. From the time our children are babies, as Christian parents our desire is to raise our children up in the Lord…and character training is a part of that. But before I get into some recommendations and ideas for teaching our children good character, I want to make an important point: Good character does us no good if it is not Christ we are trying to emulate.
We have the movie, Time Changer, and the message of the movie is that we cannot teach our children good morals apart from Jesus Christ. Over the years we have seen an increase in “character education” being promoted in our public school and even in our churches. But…my main concern is that many of these “programs” teach good morals, but they do not teach the Biblical foundation behind those morals…that Jesus Christ is our foundation. Having “good morals” is not a relative or optional thing…ok for some and not ok for others. Jesus Christ came to seek and to save the lost…US…so that He can transform us from the inside out…transform us to not have good morals, but to be like Him! It is not possible for us to be “good” without Jesus Christ as Lord of our life.
Another concern I have is that as parents we tend to fall into a false security in thinking that if we just use the “right” character curriculum, then our children will have good character. We need to always remember that our children learn more through what is “caught than what is taught.” We need to first look at our own lives as parents. Read this blog post I wrote a while back that speaks about how we must look within first: Motherhood Lessons from Matthew. Also read my blog post entitled, Better Parent or Better Disciple. Don’t think that as parents we have to be perfect….but we must be real, transparent, with our children. They must see our sincerity, our desire to please the Lord, and our humility to admit wrong. With this good foundation, then we can look at some good resources that can be used in teaching our children about how to be more like Jesus Christ…again, not how to be “good”…but how to be more like Christ!
Here are some resources I recommend:
The Bible – The most important book you can use in teaching your children about how to become more like Christ is the Bible itself. Make sure you read the Bible to your children daily!
Write Upon My Heart Character Curriculum – These look like very good studies to do as a family or for older children to work through on their own.
Everything a Child Should Know About God – This is a neat little book that takes your little ones through some of the basics of the Christian faith.
The Character Journal – This site has a bunch of character journals you can print out, teaching your children about different character qualities.
Proverbs People – Rick and Marilyn Boyer have some excellent resources on character training…and Proverbs People is one of those books!
I’m sure there are many more great resources out there to help you in teaching your children good character…but please remember to look inside first…look at the kind of example you as a parent are living…then keep your focus on becoming more like Christ…you and your children!