For years I’ve been interested in the idea of studying character qualities with my children. When the kids were younger, I found a neat preschool program with puppets about a rabbit family that came with stories and songs on different character qualities. That summer we spent quite a bit of time listening to the stories on CD and playing with the puppets. It was fun! I haven’t done too much with them since then, however.
Recently I started re-reading a favorite book that I’ve owned for maybe half a decade. It’s called, “My Heart’s at Home” and is by Jill Savage. When I came to a section on teaching children about character qualities, ideas ignited! I got a poster board and a black permanent marker and wrote out the character qualities in different ways. I’m REALLY not artistic or spatially-oriented, so I was pretty excited about how it turned out. I copied the handy reference chart from the book with brief definitions of each quality followed by a scripture reference and another Bible reference modeling Jesus’ use of that character trait. I posted both things on the wall in our dining room where we’ll see them so much this summer. You see, I think the kids spend most of their day in that room–which sometimes annoys me (like at dinner time when we have to uncover the table), but really it’s pretty sweet that they want to be in a common space, near one another. So they eat there, play there, craft there, write there…you get the picture!
I had planned to go through the list, top-to-bottom (ABC order), but a “situation” arose yesterday that made me think it was time to jump ahead to “thankfulness”. I gathered the kids at the table with a Bible. We took a couple minutes to talk about the word, apply it to our lives at that moment, read the Bible passages, and then went out to the driveway with some sidewalk chalk to make our own artistic versions of the word “thankfulness” for all our neighbors to see and ponder. The child who had initiated my decision to study “thankfulness” first continued to hang onto an edge of grouchiness, but when the chalk drawing was done and the child wanted to be done with the whole thing, I said that it would be fine if the child’s heart was FEELING thankfulness. The former issue suddenly melted away and the child got busy playing.
I’m thinking that we’ll aim to do a new character quality every-other-day this summer since there were 48 different ones in my list. I can think of more that weren’t in this list…but that’s ok. I think we’ll probably continue to jump around and use the words that are most needed and applicable at that time to capitalize on teachable moments. I’m excited for summer! No, I’m “thankful” it’s summer time! Having my busy little ones around all day forces me to adjust my routines and at times I’m tempted to feel inconvenienced, but as we discussed the other day, God calls us to be thankful in ALL circumstances…and at the heart of it all there is SO much to be thankful for, no matter what!