Much like the wood carver working on a carving, parents are shaping the habits
of their children daily. A wood carver knows exactly which pieces of wood need
to be chiseled out of the block of wood to achieve the desired shape. In the same
way, parents chisel out undesired behavior in their children at a young age and
help them develop good habits that form beautiful character within. Children left
to themselves will never know what is right until they see it demonstrated and
To create a masterpiece, parents must have a plan to form character in their
- First, they must learn to hold character in high esteem themselves.
- They must build and model character in their own lives.
- When they fail, they must ask forgiveness of their children.
Character qualities should be a regular topic of conversation. One might
hear comments such as: "Did you notice how honest Jason was when he
returned that dollar bill to the girl that dropped it?" or "Samuel sure was
diligent in helping his dad clean up the yard!"
Meal times are a good time to ask about character observations from the
day and to positively affirm the children for good character in action
during the day. Siblings can even be encouraged to award each other for
good character shown during the day.
Posters and books about character should be displayed and available in
Punishment and reward should be based on character.
Second, they must develop a "culture" of character in their homes.
Building Character in Your Children
Give character awards at
Let siblings put a
character award for each
in a bowl to be read at
Let siblings draw pictures
of someone showing good
"The foundations of
national morality must be
laid in private families."
Ways to reward good
character at home
Help for parents!
Check out the Just for
Kids pages on this
Click here for more
resources for families
Click here for tips on
quality to your
Some families choose to study a different character quality each month, using
the character materials available through this website and other resources.
The children can role play the quality and its negative opposite.
The family can study the animal analogy and historical figure that
exemplifies the quality.
Children can memorize the "I will" statements, character definition, and
rhythmic poem about the character quality.
Children can enjoy the fun work sheets on the quality of the month on the
"Just for Kids" pages on this website.
Children can enjoy the Character First website that presents the character
qualities with stories, songs, and games.
Parents should evaluate the influences in their children's lives by the grid of
good character and replace any bad exam- ples with ones modeling and
teaching good character. Asking the question, "Is this object, activity, or person
demonstrating the kind of character I want my children to have?" will often
result in parents realizing the need to change the entertainment, activities, and
peer influences in the home.
Parents can begin to punish and reward their children for character, rather than
for failures or accomplishments.
When one child in a family is praised for accomplishments or talents, the
other children can become discouraged.
Not all children are equally talented, but all children have an equal ability
to develop good character.
Discipline should always be done in love, not anger.
The lack of a particular character quality causing the bad behavior should
be discussed with the child.
Parents will want to determine which character qualities need to be encouraged
in their children's lives. Most wrong behavior can be linked to a missing
character quality. For instance--
Angela, who is constantly putting down a sibling, is lacking in respect.
Jimmy, who is constantly getting sent to the principle's office, is likely
lacking in obedience and respect.
Sally, who is whining and complaining anytime she has to wait her turn for
something, is lacking in patience.
Johnny, who doesn't put away his toys now because he lacks
responsibility, won't put his tools away when he is older because he still
lacks responsibility. And he may lose his job because of it!
A child who is taught character at a young age will reap rewards of success in
When needed qualities are identified, then deliberate action and training should
take place in the child's daily home activities. For instance, when doing the
dishes, the child can be taught that doing that chore is a way to show
gratefulness to the mom for cooking dinner. Or, thoroughness can be taught
with statements such as, "Tonight as we do the dishes we are going to do a
thorough job and make sure we don't miss one single spot of food on these
dishes." Doing chores can also highlight character qualities such as orderliness,
diligence, responsibility and carefulness.
Finally, the most powerful tool in chiseling character into a person's life is that
of proper praise. Wrong praise brings pride and limits the further development of
a person's talents. Parents tend to praise their children for knowledge, beauty,
accomplish- ment, talent or position. However, when a parent praises a child for
a character quality, he or she is encouraging the child to develop more of that
quality, which will then cause the child to make the most of the talents and
abilities the child has. Proper praise does much more to develop long term
benefits when it is given for good character.
Why not choose to become a character family?
Homes are not meant to be battlegrounds, but places where families truly enjoy
and care for one another. It is character that creates that kind of environment.
When the pressures of life and the weakness of human nature surface in the
home, character will keep harmony and ensure that healthy relationships will
continue for a lifetime of happy and productive family life.
Siblings will be jealous
if one is praised for
talent. Praising for
siblings to work on it
equal ability to
"You made great grades this
"You were so diligent this
year with your homework!
"Way to go! You played a
great game tonight!"
"You showed such
perseverance and deference
in your teamwork tonight.
Thank you for thinking of your
team members first and
playing hard when you felt
like giving up!"
"The early experiences of home
become a moral compass point,
guiding and instructing us for the
rest of life's journey."
--Wm. J. Bennett
A mother crab and her
son went scurrying over
the sand. The mother
chastised her child:
"Stop walking sideways!
It's much more becoming
to stroll straightforward."
And the young crab
replied: "I will, Mother
dear, just as soon as I
see how. Show me the
straight way, and I'll walk
in it behind you."