The most important thing I will teach my children in this life is the Good News of Jesus Christ. I want them to understand the gospel.
After the gospel, the most important thing I can teach my children is Godly character. Thankfully, there are simple and practical ways to teach character to our kids. We want to raise children that pursue a biblical example and look to the Lord in all things, including the traits they display in their lives.
Simple and Practical Ways to Teach Diligence
One character trait I want to be certain I teach my children is diligence, or faithfulness.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines diligence as: “steady, earnest, and energetic effort: persevering application”.
It is so much easier to teach our kids anything when they’re diligent! Not only do we want our kids to be diligent children, we want our children to grow to be diligent adults. Diligent adults care for their work, their children, and their spouses. Diligent adults persevere with steady, earnest, and energetic effort even in the face of great difficulty. They are faithful to steward the resources God gives them well.
Here are three simple and practical ways to teach diligence to your children:
1) Study Scripture Together
The Bible is the source of all of our knowledge about godly character! God Himself is the source of all godly character, but we learn about His character and His commands for us through His Word. God lays His expectations for us out clearly in Scripture.
It’s important that we take our kids through Scripture and help them understand what God’s Word says. It’s also important that we read the Bible together looking for the overarching themes of Scripture: Who God is, His plan for salvation, our human sin nature, Jesus Christ’s identity and atoning sacrifice, and how God commands believers to live.
As you read through the Bible together, you’ll notice a lot of “hero stories”. These are tales of people who actually lived. They aren’t all heroes–some are outright villains. But the Lord uses the stories of people to tell His grand story, and we call each person’s life story a “hero story”. Hero stories provide a great opportunity to see the sovereign hand of God in human history. Hero stories also give us an opportunity to reflect on the consequences of godly and ungodly character.
Look for hero stories in the Bible that demonstrate the consequences of diligence in the life of the main character. Look also for stories that show the consequences of haphazard and lazy living. Discuss these consequences with your kids as you read.
Reading the Bible together on a regular basis not only gives you an opportunity to talk to your children about godly diligence from the examples and commands in Scripture, it also creates a diligent habit your child will begin to practice with you. Reading Scripture regularly together is a diligent act!
2) Learn About Christian Heroes
Just as reading hero stories in the Bible can help us teach our children diligence, reading hero stories in Christian history is a great way to teach godly character traits.
The stories of Christian “heroes” throughout history are amazing. Your children will love hearing about these godly men and women who followed Jesus regardless of the cost. Examine these stories for examples of diligence and faithfulness, talking to your children about how the Lord uses our earnest efforts for His glory. Discuss times when a Christian hero was less than diligent. What was the outcome?
You can also take time to talk to Christian heroes still alive today. All around us in the family of Christ, men and women are faithfully serving their Lord. Schedule some time with a mature brother or sister in Christ. Arrange to have them share about how diligence to God’s calling on their life impacted their Kingdom work.
Need a great list of books about Christian heroes? Check out The Absolutely Enormous List of Christian History Books (By Grade Level and Time Period).
3) Practice Good Habits in Your Home!
One very simple and practical way to teach diligence to your children is to be diligent yourself.
The character traits you model in your home will become the fabric of the character traits you practice with your children. Kids not only observe and learn from our behavior, they live like we live!
Living diligently in our family life is carried out at every turn:
- When we consistently wake our family and everyone dresses for the day, that’s diligence.
- Eating healthy food on a schedule is diligence.
- Faithfully completing our daily studies is diligent.
- Involving our family in keeping and maintaining our home requires diligence.
- It’s diligent when we study Scripture together daily.
- Attending church regularly and taking part in the life of the Church Body as a family is diligent.
Is there an area of your home life that you feel you’ve been less than diligent in? Are your children skating out of being diligent because it takes effort to enforce participation? Choose one task to be diligent in and change this week. When your family masters the task, add another. That’s really all diligence is–a faithful, applied, consistent effort. It’s perseverance for the glory of God alone.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)
Danika Cooley is an author and homeschool mother of four. Her passion is equipping parents to teach Scripture and Christian history to their families. You can learn more about Danika’s popular Bible Road Trip™ curriculum and teen historical novel When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther at Thinking Kids.
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