Character Education That Works

Kids, Spring and the Parables of Jesus - Parenting Like HannahIn the Problem With Character Education, we examined the issues secular groups have with being truly successful in developing strong, good character in children. I believe when you place God back where He belongs in character education, the results will be much more consistent than the results in secular character education have been thus far.

The ironic thing is that the schools who would insist there is a strong separation of church and state have found that the values of God found in the Bible are the values that make people more successful, more content and even healthier in life. Isn’t it amazing the truths of God are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow?!

So what are the 24 traits secular researchers say make the most positive difference in the future of your kids? Because there are so many, I have grouped some together as they make sense in light of Bible passages and stories. I have included some scripture references for your convenience (I only give a handful of examples. For most of these traits, there are multiple scriptures commanding them.) – they weren’t in the secular data of course.

  • Zest (Joy), Love, Self-control, Faithfulness (Spirituality) and Kindness: The Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23. Interesting that secular programs omit Peace, Patience, Goodness and Gentleness.
  • Social Intelligence (awareness of feelings of others), Open-mindedness (looking at situations from the viewpoint of others and not jumping to conclusions), fairness (giving everyone a fair chance): The “Golden Rule” or 2nd Greatest Command – Matthew 7:12
  • Grit (perseverance), Love of Learning, Wisdom, Integrity, Humility (Modesty) and Prudence/Discretion: Proverbs
  • Gratitude, Hope, Bravery and Appreciation of Beauty: Psalms
  • Leadership and Forgiveness: Life of Jesus
  • Creativity: Creation Genesis 1 and 2
  • Humor – This is highly subjective (and not commanded per se), but I believe in the Bible there is quite a bit of humor. The story of Peter escaping from jail while the Christians were praying for him, and Rhoda being so surprised she forgot to open the door for him is one of my personal favorites. (Acts 12)
  • Citizenship: Members of the Church working together as the Body. I Corinthians 12
  • Curiosity: This is the other trait that isn’t specifically commanded in the Bible, but stories like Moses and the Burning Bush (Exodus 3) make it fairly clear, this is a part of how God created mankind – to be curious.

Isn’t it wonderful that training your children to obey God’s commands and principles and to accurately mirror the image of God will also make their life more joyful, successful and healthy?! Just make sure you give them a firm foundation built on who God is and what He wants from us and for us if you want these character traits to really “stick” in your kids.

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)