Monday, May 14, 2012

An Alphabet of Character Qualities

Welcome to the "5 Days of..." Blog Hop! 

This week I will be posting about character training and our children (which always translates to character training for the parents, doesn't it??) I feel that to have a worthwhile discussion about character training, we all need to understand what is meant when I say "character," so my first post will be an overview of as many positive character traits as I can think of...if I miss any, that you find to be important, please feel free to leave a comment and I will add to the list!

Teaching (and learning) character is so important for families...especially for us home educators since we are our children's teachers and most influential examples. It's not just the kids who need to build up their character, it is the parents, too...ouch! That can hurt, can't it?

Webster's 1918 Dictionary defines character as "The peculiar quality, or sum of qualities, by which a particular person is distinguished from others; the stamp impressed by nature, education, or habit; that which a person or thing really is; nature or disposition" and "Moral quality; the principles and motives which control the life." 

"For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 24:7a and "For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." Matthew 12:34

Since by definition, character influences a person's entire being and subsequently, their entire life,  it MUST be taken seriously. Developing good character cannot be an afterthought, and we can't just assume that good character will come naturally. I have have found with my own children that while they may "generally" turn out with character that is similar to mine (which I hope is a good thing), they are masters at noticing my not-so-good qualities and reproducing them in spades, magnified by ten, while their reproduction of my good qualities (like picking up after myself) does not tend to increase as exponentially. Does that happen to anyone else??

In order to effectively instruct our children in character, I have found that deliberately setting and pursuing personal and family goals to achieve works best for us. We choose a quality and develop ways to remind each other of it, little keys to remembering how the proper behavior looks, and then work on it consistently for about a month. After that, we still bring it up, compliment each other when it is evident, remind each other when it is not, and so far I have not been disappointed. 

Whenever we are diligent with our pursuit of good character, our days flow more smoothly. Whenever we are remiss, our days consistently become more rocky and fraught with discontent and conflict.

I hate to admit it, but there are quite a few qualities on my ABCs of Character Qualities list that I could use a bit of remediation on. How about you? 

This week I am focusing on P is for patience and peacefulness. Hubby is getting acclimated to a new position at work so his hours have been erratic, and just knowing there is no guaranteed tag-team relief at the end of any given day (coupled with weather-induced migraines) makes it harder for me to practice my patience as well as I should. Thankfully, I do have Tex, my right-hand man, who helps share the load, and he also offers a bit of comic relief and encouragement from time to time, just when it is needed. What a blessing!

So here we go on our exploration of character, starting with answering the question of "What is GOOD character?"

The ABCs of Character

A is for Apologetic, because being able to admit you did wrong and to want to make restitution for your wrong doing takes a lot of courage. It is also for Attentive, Alert, and Availability. If we are alert to the events that unfold around us, attentive to what is needed, astutely discerning what is important, available to offer our assistance when needed, andadaptable to many types of situations, accepting of differences and difficulties that may arise, and ardent about helping meet other's needs, then we will fill an important role in the Lord's Army. And don't forget to appreciate all you have. We are so blessed.

B is for Brave and Bold, because the world right now needs more Christians who are willing to stand up for truth and to not be afraid to tell it like it is (in love). It is also for benevolent and blessing, because being a blessing to others is what we are called to do.

C is for Christ-like because we should all try to be more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. Children need heroes, and I just wish when you asked kids who their hero is these days, more of them would say, "Jesus!" C is also for contentment, creativity, cautiousness, consistency, commitment, charity, chastity, caring, compassion, confidence, consideration, calm, convicted, cooperative, courageous, and cheerful...not to mention plain old character...Christ-like character, not be a character! (That's a lot of C words!!)

D is for Diligence and Dependable. We need to teach our kids to behard workers, and to do every job as if it is for the Lord. They need to do their best work every time, until it is completed, without needing reminders. It is also for determined, discerning, decisive, discretion, and deference to others, with a little dreaming big for God thrown in.

E is for Endurance because times can be tough and we must be examples of how we will stick it out to the end, not just with our heads down and plowing forward, but with a positive and persevering attitude. It's not just whether you finish the race, it is how you run it. E is also for eternity in our hearts, excellence, enthusiasm, encouraging, efficient, equitable, equipped, and evangelistic.

F is for Forgiving. God forgave all of our sins, no matter how can we do less than forgive our brothers and sisters for what they do to us? F is also for friendship, one of the Lord's precious gifts to us, flexibility, fairness, fearless, fortitude, and faith.

G is for Grace. Without grace, where would we be? We need to be sure we extend it to others, too. G is also for the gratitude we should approach each day with, as well as for generosity, gentleness, gallant, gregariousness, and the gifts we are uniquely blessed with by God.

H is for the hospitality we should extend to others. One thing we should strive to do as Christians, and as homeschoolers, is to make our home a place where we can openly invite others so that our testimonies can influence their lives, and their testimonies can influence ours (and our children's). H is also for humility, which is so important. If we all saw others as being more important than ourselves, as the Bible instructs us to do, our world would be so much more hospitable. H stands for helpful, honest, honoring, happiness, harmonious, and hope, as well.

I is for initiative because we want our children to not only do what we ask of them, but to do what they see needs to be done on their own. If they can't unload the dishwasher that needs unloading or get their math assignment done without our asking them to do it, how will they go forth and do the Lord's work? I is also for being interested in others, and for being inquisitive and intelligent.

J is for being joyful in all situations, even the ones that are difficult. This does not mean that we should laugh during times of sorrow, but that we have that deep feeling of abiding joy we get when we recognize that our heavenly Father is in control of our every circumstance. J is also for the justice we should try to uphold, while leaving vengeance to the Lord.

K is for kindness to others, even our enemies. Every time we are kind to someone, we are showing our love for our Lord and Savior. K is also for growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 2:18

Dowload a copy from thegirlcreative

L is for LOVE. "And now these three remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. But the greatest of these is love..." 1 Corinthians 13:13 L is also for learning, which is a lifelong process, level-headed, and loyalty to others.

M is for mercywhich we should offer to others abundantly for immeasurable mercy has been offered to us through Christ. M is also for meekness, for we should consider others as being better than ourselves, and for modesty, which is its companion.

N is for nurturing, a way to care for and encourage others. It is also for Near to God, for if you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. James 4:8

O is for obedience. As young children, we must obey God, who tells us to obey our parents. This obedience to our earthly parents prepares us for direct obedience to our Heavenly Father as we grow. God is our Father, our Lord, and our Creator. He deserves our obedience, for He is worthy and He loves us. After that, O is for orderliness, which is helped by being organized. By being observant you will be able to see what the Lord needs you to do, and if you are optimistic, you will show others how to base their feelings on the hope that is within, Jesus Christ.

is for patience, which I always need more of, since patience leads to better character, and better character leads to hope (Romans 5:4).  P is also for punctual (just in case others aren't so patient), and for prayerful, persistent, persuasive, practical, prudent, pleasing to God, peaceful, and pure.

Q is for quiet of spiritso that you can hear that still small voice within. It is also for being quick to respond to God's call.

R is for respectful of others and reverent towards the things of the Lord. It is also for being responsible, for those who can be counted on to be responsible for the small things will be entrusted with responsibility over greater things. It is also for the righteous defense of the Word of God, and for being resourceful by making the most of what you are given.

is for the self-control by which so many other seeds of virtue are developed. It is also for our submission to higher authorities, starting with God. Then it is for sincerity and sensitivity, security and sacrifice, and lastly servant-leadership, if we want to be more like Christ.

T is for all of our God-given talents, which we should develop and not hide. It is also for being thoughtful and thorough in all that we do. T stands for being thrifty to better use the resources God has given us, as well as tolerant of other's imperfections, and truthful about all we say (without forgetting to be tactful, when necessary).

U is for understanding of others and their God-given uniqueness, and for seeking unity of Spirit within the body of Christ.

V is for living victoriously in Christ. It is also for having Godly values, maintaining Christian virtues, and for valor in battle (spiritual ones included).

W is for wisdom, which begins with the fear of the Lord. (Proverbs 9:10). It is also for being willing to go where the Lord calls you to go, and to do what the Lord calls you to do. W is for having a welcoming spiritto those you encounter, and for maintaining that sense of wondermentwhen you consider the awesomeness of all of God's creation. Don't ever lose that...

X is for the eXcitement you feel as you eXplore God's marvelous universe on your way to becoming and eXpert in whatever field He calls you to, always maintaining a standard of eXcellence in all you do and say.

Y is for those times you say Yes, Lord, I WILL! It's also for theyearning in your Spirit for the things of God, and a desire to maintainyesterday's values in today's confused and despairing world.

Z is for that "Zippity Doo Dah, Zippity Yay! My, oh my, what a wonderful day...Plenty of SONshine  heading my way. Zippity Doo Dah, Zippity Yay!" feeling I get whenever I think about heaven, our REAL home, where we will be in the presence of the Lord for eternity...and we will fully understand that the fruit of developing all this good character in our children was their salvation and the salvation of many others they will influence (we hope and pray).  How wonderful that will be! (Sorry, I couldn't think of a single character quality that started or included the letter "Z").

I hope you enjoyed my ABCs of Character Qualities. I'd love to hear what you are working on this week in regards to character. 

Also, please feel free to give me a heads-up if you think of anything I missed. I will be glad to add it to this list!


Join the members of the TOS Review Crew all week for the 
"5 Days of..." Blog Hop

I will be posting on character training all week. Tomorrow's post on WHY we need to deliberately train for good character is called "Education Isn't Everything---Why Character Must Come First."

Schedule for the week:
Monday--What is good character and Who needs it??
Tuesday--Why must we deliberately train for develop good character?
Wednesday--How can we develop good character in our children? (with links to character-building freebies and our favorite not free character training resources.
Thursday--How reading aloud to your family will help strengthen character and your family. (With many links to online/downloadable free quality literature and audio books)
Friday--When do we train for character and who benefits...Developing character in your children through serving others.



Joelle said...

What a great, challenging, thoughtful post! You nailed it very well. I could not agree more with all you said (except for obedience, I would say God first then parents, as they need to obey us as an act of obedience to God), and of course I am working on them all and still have a long way to go, but God's grace is sufficient for each day. I will share your post! Can't wait to read more.

Our Peculiar Lives said...

Great post, I really enjoyed it. Will be printing out, lots of things to focus on!

Unknown said...

this is an amazing list. I need to take some time and really go through it, taking notes. such an important topic for home and homeschool.

Heather said...

Joelle, What you said...that's what I meant! Thanks for the heads up on that slip of the fingers. I corrected it, I think. It is hard to explain that one simply, though you did a great job!



Michelle said...

What an awesome list. I have to figure out a pretty way to get this down on paper and up on the wall.

We regularly set goals. I, too, find this is the BEST way to get character training into their hearts and minds. Most of the kids try really hard to achieve their goals. And little reminders is all that is usually needed.

I'm part of the 5 days of...thought I'd swing by.

Vickie said...

Awesome!!!! I love the way you did the ABC's.

I agree with Joelle about obedience tho. God first, then parents :)

I look forward to reading the rest of the week's posts.

Mozi Esme said...

Love this list! I'm thinking this would be perfect for a letter-a-week type of thing...

I LOVE focusing on academics, yet so often I've been told, and know, that if we don't get the character traits downpat, the rest is worthless... It's a constant challenge.

Mozi Esme said...

Love this list! I'm thinking this would be perfect for a letter-a-week type of thing...

I LOVE focusing on academics, yet so often I've been told, and know, that if we don't get the character traits downpat, the rest is worthless... It's a constant challenge.

Auburn said...

Z zealous-having or showing zeal; dedicated to a purpose; fervent
We need to be zealous in showing God's love to others!

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