We know our children learn character through example and Biblical correction, but let’s not forget the importance of everyday life character building!
Even when we aren’t intentionally training our kids in character, their character is being shaped and formed by what we do or don’t allow them to do.
They are learning through everyday situations daily, including our reactions, words, and activities. Their character is also being shaped by what they are viewing, reading, and doing or even where they are going.
Tips for everyday life character building:
1.Be fully present.
If you are present, but distracted, you may end up being surprised to find out some of the things that your kids have been doing.
It’s not enough to have daily character lessons with your children. You also need to be aware of what they are doing, and where they are.
It is your job to be aware always, and teach, train, guide and supervise throughout everyday life situations that come up.
While this is time consuming, it is also worth it!
By being vigilant you are making sure that good seeds are being planted into your children, that will spring up into Godly character, while stopping the growth of negative character traits.
2. Be aware of what your children are reading.
All books push the author’s values, so it is important to be sure your children are reading wholesome books that encourage Biblical values and Godly character.
Don’t assume that a book is wholesome just because it’s “Christian.”
I found that many Christian books for children include things like siblings not getting along with each other, or children being disrespectful to their parents.
These are things our children already struggle with, so why have them read books that portray that as normal and okay? I’d rather they read books that show the kids trying to be respectful and obedient, and children who love their siblings despite their occasional conflicts.
3. Protect from wrong influences
We need to think through who or what we are allowing to be an influence on our children, and guard against influences that will undermine what we are teaching them from God’s Word about Godly living, and Godly character.
Some things to consider when thinking about influences:
**Be careful who you allow to watch your children.
We had a teen sitter once, and specifically requested that the kids didn’t watch anything on TV while we were gone. When we came home they were all in front of the TV watching the teen’s favorite show, which wasn’t really appropriate for our children.
After that, we usually tried to use adults to care for our children, rather than teens, simply because we knew them and could trust that they would uphold our standards when our kids were with them.
**Be aware of what your kids are watching on TV, or doing online.
There isn’t much on TV any more that is wholesome, so be sure you set limits on what is allowed to be watched.
The online world presents so much danger, and it is vital to have safeguards in place to protect your children online, while training them how to use the internet and social media wisely as they get older.
**Be aware of who your kids are friends with.
Peer pressure is a real thing, and some kids are strong and handle it well, while others cave in and don’t handle it well. Be aware of the influence their friends are having on them, and whether it is positive or negative.
It’s important to know your children well.
Watch their attitude after spending time with their friends. How is their countenance? Those are great indicators of whether the influence is positive or negative.
Be careful too about just letting them play with any and all neighbor children without any supervision. Our rule was that neighbor kids could come in our yard to play with our kids only if my husband or I were outside with them. That way we were able to supervise what was being said and done.
For the same reason we encouraged our children to invite the neighbor kids to come to our house to play, rather than allowing them to go to their houses.
While protecting our children from wrong influences is important, keep in mind that our goal is to protect totally when they are young, immature, and in training.
As they get older and more mature, we should be teaching them how to make wise decisions, and start giving them a little more freedom gradually.
Above all, pray that God will protect your children from wrong influences, and give you wisdom in everyday life character building.
1. Check how you are doing in these areas:
- Are you fully present and aware or are you distracted?
- Are you checking on what your kids are reading?
- How are you doing at protecting them from wrong influences?
2. Write down one thing you can do to improve in the area of everyday life character building and start on it TODAY.