Our Children: Practical Character Building for the New Year

It’s a brand new year and with it comes resolutions, goals and another vow to lose those extra pounds you gained over Christmas vacation.  But what about our little ones?  I must admit, I have yet to think about what I could do to cultivate their little souls when it comes to the new year.  Any parent knows that children need a lot of training, guidance and redirection.  They aren’t too different from us, are they?  That’s why I love Grace For The Moment, by Max Lucado.  There is a kid’s version and an adult version.  This way children and parents can be on the same page in their devotions.  I love this idea.  

So, with 2013 here, I’ve grabbed character traits and virtues from Galatians 5:22-23 and 2 Peter 1:5-7 and our family will be focusing on a different one each month during 2013.  Here’s a quick breakdown along with some practical ideas to implement!  Get yourself a notebook and consider copying these down and recording conversations and teachable moments that you will have with your children.


JANUARY: JOY
Explain to your child that happiness is a feeling based on material and temporal things.  Joy is different; this is a God-given gift that we can have during good and bad times.  Do a search through the book of Psalms and start memorizing verses about joy during the month of January.

FEBRUARY: PEACE

The best way to teach your children to be peaceful peacemakers is to model it before them!  By remaining calm and being a good listener, your children will eventually follow your example with their siblings and peers.  The goal is progress, not perfection.  As you learn to remain calm as the parent, peace will naturally begin to permeate your home.

MARCH: LONG SUFFERING
Another word for long suffering is patience.  How do we help instill patience in our children?  It means that we are willing to wait.  Talk about what being patient means with your children.  Teach them that it is important to wait with a smile as Mommy gets them breakfast.  Teach them that sharing their toys means waiting with a good attitude until it is their turn again.  Work on these little life-lessons as they arise during the month of March.

APRIL: GENTLENESS
Our world is far from gentle.  Turn on the news and violence is almost all you hear about.  Again, stress that a gentle spirit is God-given and we need to ask the Lord to help us with this.  Instead of yelling and hitting others when we don’t get our way, respond with a quiet voice.  Gentleness shows that you have restraint and aren’t responding with anger.  Talk about life-examples of how your children might respond with gentleness and kindness.  Is there someone at school that doesn’t have many friends?  How might they show them gentleness and kindness?  Have your children draw a picture and send kind words to a friend or family member.  
MAY: FAITH
Kids will not learn faith from doing a jigsaw puzzle or participating in your church’s Easter play.  While all these things are great, kids will ultimately learn from life-situations.  Your children (like mine) may still be very young and have yet to face some hard trials.  But what about you?  Can you recall a time when life was uncertain and you chose to have faith and trust God?  Share it with your children!  Ask them some thought-provoking questions like, what would you do in that situation?  How can you choose to have faith and trust God when you are scared?

JUNE: MEEKNESS
Strength under control.  Teach your child that meekness does not equal weakness.  Talk about people in the Bible who showed meekness (Paul: 1 Corinthians 10, Jesus: Matthew 21, and Moses: Numbers 12) and have your children draw a picture of a Bible character and also a picture of themselves showing meekness in a situation.  Explain to your children that the world prides itself in doing things in their own strength, but God wants us to rely upon Him for our perfect strength.  
JULY: VIRTUE
Virtue is moral excellence.  It’s good and right living before God according to His Word.  It begins with salvation.  If your children have yet to accept Christ into their lives, explain to them that we can be good little children, but God is the one who has the power to change us from the inside out.  He can and will give us the strength to be good and moral people as we invite Him into our life as Savior.  Print off some pictures of valuable rubies and diamonds and tell your children how expensive and valuable they are.  Then explain that God values virtue far above even a diamond or a ruby!
AUGUST: KNOWLEDGE
During the month of August, study about the attributes of God.  Do a google search and talk about God and how important it is to know and learn about Him.
SEPTEMBER: SELF CONTROL
The importance of controlling our emotions, desires and impulses.  Some ways your children can practice self control:  have them sit quietly once a week in big church with you.  Teach your child the importance of waiting and not interrupting adults when they are talking.
    
OCTOBER: FAITHFULNESS
Stress that because God is faithful to us, we can trust all of His promises!  Man may fail us, but God will never fail us.  Memorize 2 Timothy 2:13: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.  Teach your children the importance of being faithful to others and God.  If they make a promise to someone, teach them to keep that promise.  Did they start an instrument or a sport?  Let them know it’s important to fulfill their commitment through its duration.  Praise your children when they complete a task or project that they may not necessarily enjoy. 
NOVEMBER: BROTHERLY KINDNESS
Love of the brotherhood (God’s family).  Practice brotherly kindness by having them open the doors for guests as they walk into church.  Teach them the importance of putting other people before themselves.  To be kind means to show love and affection.  Makes some cards together with your children for the sick and shut in.  Talk about ways that your children can be kind with their tongue.  
DECEMBER: CHARITY
Love.  During the month of December, talk about God’s perfect love and example by sending His son Jesus as a baby and eventually dying on the cross for the whole world.


Traci is a curly-headed dreamer who loves her Savior, adores her best friend called Hubby, and her three children! She never knew how much she would love being at home full time with her kids, but she does (most days)! What a privilege and high calling! She loves to blog, take pictures, cook, decorate cakes, and make her home cozy and inviting! She also enjoys teaching women God’s Word through Bible studies at church and online devotions. It is her desire to glorify God through encouraging and edifying other women. It is her heart’s cry to motivate women to abide in Christ, respect their spouse, and raise their little ones to know the love of Jesus. God’s grace captivates her in such a way that she wants her life to make a difference for His glory.