We are in the middle of a series of posts about what parents should focus on for launching young adults into this great big world.  The focus is on the word, CHASE, where each letter stands for a different topic. The first letter of the word we are building is C.   C stands for Character.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we raised kids who had many virtuous character traits?  I’m talking about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control!  These are what the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit and you can find them listed in Galatians 5:22-23.  Plus there are other virtues not listed in this verse that it would be great for our kids to have. How about diligence? teachable? There are many more!

Now, I can hear what you are thinking…… <<<crickets>>>.  You’re thinking I can barely get my kid to take out the trash, let alone be joyful or patient or kind while he is doing it.

Yes, it is true that teaching virtues to our kids is a difficult process and we are going to have to persevere — Hey, there’s another one!

Virtues and character traits in the home

Working on virtues requires perseverance! How can you add virtues to your kids’ lives?

The first step in teaching virtues to our kids is this:  They need to be believers in Jesus.  The Bible tells us that actually, no one can do good things without the Spirit working inside them.  And you can’t have the Spirit inside you unless you have believed in Jesus and His work on the cross. So that’s the first step.

Do your kids know Him? Are you actively telling them about the gospel? Don’t just push it off to the church and expect that the church will “save” your kid.  This is something you can work on right at home. AND, you don’t have to be a theological scholar to do it.

Every time there is a problem your family is facing, you can tell your kids that only Jesus can fix this. You can point them to Him and show them the need for a Saviour. When they are having relationship problems with a friend, you can talk to them about how Jesus was betrayed by his friends and He knows what it feels like. You can show them how to call out to Him in their darkest moment – when they’ve recognized that they have sin in their heart and need Him to make them whole.  This is something you can do as a parent. And your kid won’t be able to live righteously or show any kind of the fruit we are talking about without doing this first.

But, if your child is a believer, then you can start teaching them how to live virtuously. Here are some ideas for how to do that.

  1.  Pick one and study it. Some schools study character traits each week or each month. You can do that too! You can use Blueletterbible.org to search for words like faith, love, patience, gentleness. Help your child find the verses that pop up and read them together. You can choose to focus on a virtue or fruit each month.
  2. Another thing you can do is point out virtuous people who are acting out these traits. Watch a movie or read a book together that demonstrates courage, persistence, dedication or endurance.  Talk after the move about what they liked that the character did and what they did not like. Ask them what would it look like if you were the hero? How can you show dedication to your tasks at home or at the school like he did? 
  3. Write verses about the virtue and post in your kitchen and common areas in your home. Post them in your child’s bathroom or on their door to their room or bulletin board at their desk.
  4. Work on memorizing a verse together.

What about you? What are some ideas you have about training virtue in your home?

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Michelle Newbold has been married for 25 years to her best friend, Craig. They have four kids whom they have been homeschooling from almost the beginning.  They are active in their local church and in Classical Conversations where Michelle is a Challenge III Director at two locations. They are looking forward to sending their kids out as influencers in this world.  You can find them often on the lake, working on their wakeboarding & boat driving skills.