For the last month, we have seen SO many fantastic posts on building character in our kids! What a blessing to have these kinds of resources to draw from. Now comes the hard part: putting the things that we know we need to do into action, and setting the example in character training.
Character building sounds like an excellent idea because it is. But the reality of it can be a little daunting and the biggest surprise can be how much time it takes! So let’s pause for a bit and talk about the time element.
We live in a world that is moving perpetually faster and faster. So much of what we do takes less time than ever. We have phones that help us communicate at warp speed and get information to us quicker than ever. That can be good, but there are definitely some huge downsides to it. I’d like to talk about just a couple of those and how they affect our efforts to train our kids in good character. First of all, because we CAN have so much so quickly, we adults tend to be much less patient.
We are able to have our questions answered and needs met instantaneously. For instance: If I need a recipe, I don’t pick up the phone and call my mom, grandma, or a friend. Instead, I pick up my phone and Google it. I don’t have to take the time for a conversation that would involve being polite and chit-chatting. It’s certainly more efficient, but it doesn’t necessarily grow my character or stretch me in any way.
Setting the Example In Character Training
Our kids are watching us. They take their cues from us. If we always take the easy, efficient road, that’s the one they will tend to take as well. So the question is, are we making sure we are setting the example as parents as to what good character looks like? Because kids will learn more from what we do than what we say.
The fact that we can have our questions answered and needs met so quickly can lead to impatience. If I need vitamins, I just click on Amazon Prime and boom! They are on their way by tomorrow. Again, this can definitely make life easier, but humans will, by nature, take the easiest way out. Without even knowing it, while enjoying these conveniences, our patience erodes. Not just when needing vitamins, but across the board. We need to be very careful that we don’t let that impatience overflow into training and teaching our kids.
Kids are not machines. They are warm, human beings with souls. They have emotions, thoughts, and physical challenges of their own as they walk through these growing up years. These years are wrought with continual changes in their minds, bodies, and souls and it’s crucial that we remain sensitive to that.
Asking God To Help Us Set the Example In Character Training
We need to ask God to give us understanding along the way. We need His help so that we can truly connect with our kids and not just teach them HOW to do what’s right. Instead, we want to encourage them to want to do what is right (by example)…for the right reasons. Children can do what they are told. But if there is a disconnect between their heads and their hearts, we have only skimmed the surface and character goes much deeper than that.
Secondly, technology can be and typically is, a big distraction. It can be very easy to miss character issues if we are constantly distracted. It’s so important that we show good character and set the example by keeping technology in its proper place in our homes and lives. We need to turn it off for appropriate chunks of time so we be can be intentional in keeping priorities like homeschooling, meals, and family time.
It’s important to be tuned into our lives and our kids so WE can show them and disciple them in what it looks like to walk in obedience to the Lord and this takes TIME. Isn’t that the reason we are doing what we are doing? We are raising the next generation of believers and we want them to walk in truth, bringing the hope of the gospel in a very REAL and powerful way! It begins by us setting the example for them.
Durenda Wilson is a mom to eight, nana to 6 and has been married to Darryl since 1989. They have homeschooled from the beginning and have graduated 7 so far. Durenda loves to encourage moms to slow down and have more unhurried hearts so they can truly enjoy these years with their kids. She shares through her blog and podcast, Durenda Wilson and her simple, mercifully short book on homeschooling, The Unhurried Homeschooler