Instilling virtue in your children is pretty serious business. After all, the adult world is a competitive place, and you want your kids to be prepared.
Unfortunately, that desire leads many parents to bury their children beneath some pretty harsh standards. At report card time, they question why their nearly straight-A student didn’t get that onegrade a little higher. Or maybe they snap at their teenager if he or she shows the slightest sign of irresponsibility.
That kind of response doesn’t adequately reflect most parents’ heart for their children. They don’t intend to be harsh. They just don’t have the parenting tools they need to motivate their children in a positiveway.
So what if instead of a stern face and a seemingly endless string of lectures, you could teach your children important virtues with a smile and a laugh?
Well, the good news is you can – and we’re talking about howon our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Fun Ways to Instill Virtue in Your Children” with author Courtney DeFeo. Take a look at this list:
I’m sure you’d love to see virtues like these displayed in your children’s character in some measure. The question is, how? In the midst of all the busyness associated with raising kids, how do you effectively teach important virtues to children?
Probably the most tried and true method is to pass along your values through the daily ebb and flow of life as described in Deuteronomy 6:7: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (ESV).
In modern terms, that means you share your beliefs with your children while you’re driving them to school, playing a game with them, or taking a stroll with them through the neighborhood. The best part is, you can do it all in a fun way, which means fewer lectures and more enjoyable experiences.
To teach gratitude, for example, Courtney suggests helping younger kids see God’s greatness in nature by pointing it out to them on a hike, or while walking through the park. You can draw your kids’ attention to the scenery and say, “Thank You, God, for the trees.” “Thank You, God, for the flowers.” It’s not preachy, and it’s a simple way for them to learn gratitude for all that God has given us.
Or try Courtney’s suggestion for modeling generosity. She takes her kids to the Dollar Store and hands each of them a few dollar bills. Then they hide the money around the store with a note that says, “We believe it’s better to give than receive. Enjoy this free treat from our family.”
Instilling virtues in our children is all about finding simple ways to bring the virtues we want our kids to learn into their everyday world and bringing their faith alive without lecturing or expecting them to live up to impossible standards.
You can hear a lot more of Courtney DeFeo’s ideas on “Fun Ways to Instill Virtue in Your Children” on your local radio station, , online, oniTunes, via Podcast, or take us with you on our free phone app.
I’d like to extend an invitation for you to become a special partner with us through our monthly “Friends of Focus on the Family”program.When you do, I’ll send you a copy of Courtney DeFeo’s book In This House We Will Giggle: Making Virtues, Love, and Laughter a Daily Part of Your Family Lifeas a way of saying thank you for touching others with the love of Christ. To make your pledge, or for more information, visit our websiteor call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).
Thank you for partnering with us to help families in need.