Character, simply put, is integrity - doing the right thing when no one is looking. People with integrity are kind, giving, and productive citizens. They make life richer for the people around them and make the world a better place. Building and shaping character in our kids should be as much of a priority as building academic skills. We are growing and shaping the next generation and in so doing, we are shaping the future of our communities and our world.
It Starts Early
We’ve all heard of the “terrible twos”. Between toddler temper tantrums, testing boundaries, and taking each others’ toys they do a great job of keeping us parents on our feet! It doesn’t take long for kids’ selfish nature to take over. Those cute little angels can be demanding, angry, pushy, mean little things sometimes, can’t they?! As frustrating as those situations can be, those are the perfect opportunities for us to start shaping their character.
It Starts at Home
Kids are ALWAYS watching. And I mean ALWAYS. I used to think it was just parents and teachers who had eyes in the back of their heads, but these kids have eyes and ears in the back of their heads and they are taking note of not just what we say but what we do. If we aren’t setting a good example for our kids, how can we expect them to live lives full of integrity? We can’t build good character in young lives without the proper investment. It starts at home and it starts with us. I seriously can’t stress this enough. All those things you are hiding from your kids…they know…so stop it. 😜
Standing in the Gap
Here’s the deal. Our kids are precious commodities. They are the future of our families, our communities, and our world. We must protect them. Obviously, we protect them from car accidents by driving responsibly and making them wear their seat belts. We protect their health by feeding them healthy foods and taking them to their check-ups. We protect them by keeping them away from fires, busy roads, and dangerous animals. Why? We stand in the gap for them while they are growing and developing because we understand the danger that these things pose to immature children who don’t have fully formed decision-making capabilities. We must do the same when it comes to their character.
Who is pouring into your kids? What kind of information is being pumped into their little impressionable minds? Think about it. Every deposit matters - good and bad. The things they are watching on television, the songs they listen to, and even the commercials and ads they see are speaking to them. What are those messages saying? I promise you that our children are constantly being bombarded with messages from organizations and entities outside of our family units. Are we taking the time to make sure that those entities are sending the right types of messages? Lots of little messages go a long way! According to Frontiers for Young Minds, research shows that an average person consumes the equivalent of 74 GB of information DAILY. That’s equivalent to watching SIXTEEN movies…a day. I find that unbelievable! I also find it a bit frightening - what kinds of things are our kids learning through that consumed information?
I want to make sure that the kinds of things my kids are seeing and hearing are the kinds of things
that will help shape them and grow them to be moral people with outstanding character. I want my husband and me to be the loudest voices speaking into them. So we must be intentional about making time to talk to them, teach them, show them good examples, and protect them from sub-par influences in the world that don’t speak high-quality messages to them. Because if I’m not teaching them, I can guarantee the world will teach them. I’m not sure how closely you pay attention to the news, but I can assure you that I don’t want the world pouring into them - quite the opposite. I want to raise them to be people with outstanding character and integrity who can stand up to the world and forge a better, moral way through life.
What it boils down to, is the fact that if our kids are our priorities and we care about their futures, we will put the time and effort into raising them to have outstanding character. The world is a crazy place. Let’s not even address drug use, murder, rape, and other forms of violence. Let’s keep it a bit more simple and closer to home. What about teaching our boys to be gentlemen? What about showing our kids how to honor and help our elderly? What about teaching them to pay attention to and interact with people with special needs? Because while everyone is walking around virtue signaling, they still are yelling in people’s faces, posting rude and vile content on social media, walking through a door and not opening it for the next person, shoulder checking someone in a crowd just because they were in the way, giving dirty looks or dirty fingers 😱. Character matters. It matters because we all just want to be treated with kindness. We all just want to be respected as human beings. We all crave love and belonging. If we aren’t raising kids who understand the importance of doing the right thing when no one is looking, then none of these things gets resolved. They keep happening over and over, generation to generation because no one has taken the time to teach them that there is a better way!
The Ripple Effect
There is a ripple effect. Positivity and goodness give birth to positivity and goodness. Kindness reaps kindness. Raising kids with character and a moral compass will improve the quality of their lives, your family dynamics, their peer groups, your communities, and the world.
I believe so strongly in being intentional about building character in kids that I included “Character Builders’ in our “Blast off to Reading” full-year literacy curriculum for kindergartners. This pack is appropriate for students K-5 but can be used with older students as well. It includes 77 pages with 35 full-color character builders complete with:
A list of 35 quality, well-written children's books appropriate for elementary school-aged students chosen specifically because of the life lessons each teaches
Reading comprehension-focused graphic organizers
Higher-level, high-impact strategies to improve reading comprehension
Suggested answers key
This comes with our full-year Blast off to Reading! Curriculum or it can be purchased separately. You can click here to purchase the full-year curriculum or just to purchase the Character Builder pack. You can also click on the links below!
You can find this and all of our other educational materials at enrichededucationhomeschool.com!
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