Sunday, November 20, 2016

Teaching character and honesty

I was asked recently if we have any books that we use for teaching character and honesty.  Whew, that one is a tough one!  This is one of the most important jobs a parent has, to teach these things.  I think it is really one that must be lived out as we talk to our children about the choices we are making in life.  As we live our our faith.  Even as we model these things for our kids (and share our failures and the consequences as well) outside influences and their own sin natures come into play.  Our children will struggle and fail in some way or another; just as we have.  These are opportunities to grow and learn.  As parents we are responsible for our own obedience to God in teaching and training the children He has given us.  We are not responsible for their salvation, only the Holy Spirit can do that work.


Our first resource in teaching our children should always be the Bible.  Reading through the Bible as a family is HUGE.  I highly recommend reading through the Bible as a family chronologically.  We've been using this plan for about 7 years now.  For help on specific topics, walking through The Gospel, and character building I really like The Child Training Bible.  I use it in our circle time regularly to just go through the verses to remind us of what the Bible says about various topics, but also when dealing with specific issues privately with a child.

As parents we must consider what is going into their hearts and minds.  What are they watching, reading, and what games are they playing.  Who are they interacting with?  Who are their friends, teachers, etc?  All of these things contribute to the condition of their heart. If you feel that you must remove some of those influences I highly recommend finding something good to replace what you are taking away.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

But the things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.  Matthew 15:18

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things. Philippians 4:8

As for book recommendations....the best I can do is recommend some books that we've enjoyed that reenforce honesty and good/godly character.  Pilgrim's Progress is a great one; there are many versions including children's and updated easier to read ones.  We've loved so many Lamplighter Books all of them have reenforced some character trait that we desire to teach our children.  They can be rather expensive, but Amazon does have some at lower prices than if you but directly from Lamplighter.  Some great Lamplighters to start with would be Teddy's Button, Tom Gillies,  Basil (Or, Honesty and Industry), Little Sir Galahad, and The White Knights.  All of these books make great family reading books, but many of my kids have read them on their own as well.

If your child is not so excited about reading old time books and would like something more contemporary I highly recommend the many books by Chuck Black; there's The Kingdom Series, The Knights of Arrethtrae Series, and the Wars of the Realm Series (this series is for more mature children...they recommend 13+ years).

I also highly recommend reading biographies of those that have gone before us.  Heroes of the Christian faith, we love the YWAM ones.  Reading about how others have run the race and some of their struggles can be very encouraging.  The story of John Bunyan could be a very encouraging one to a child that is having a rough time, to know that a great man of God struggled greatly.

This is hardly a complete list, but hopefully it provides a good start.  Often we find great books by looking one up on Amazon and looking at the recommendations that follow (it doesn't always work out, but it's a great place to start looking for more).

*I'm an Amazon affiliate.  If you shop through some of these links I'll make an itty bit of a commission on the sale which I'll likely spend on more books. ;) 

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