Keys to Teaching Character Traits
Teaching character traits is not as easy and simple as teaching most other subjects.
Kids are smart. They know when someone is walking their talk or just talking their talk.
Of course, as you'll see below, when you teach character education based on the lives of extraordinary people from the past, your job may be simpler and easier.
Do you have an empowering, best kept secret method for teaching character traits?
Share your secret here.
Here's what others shared about teaching traits.
But for now, begin by choosing a character trait that represents one of your best qualities, i.e., kindness, accepting, gentle, sincere.
Here's an excellent discussion about character traits as well as character education lessons and a list of character traits.
Homeschooling moms or anyone teaching character traits, consider it wise to begin slowly with activities comprised of traits from your own life that you know you live up to.
Then, as you teach this first trait, you'll be authentic, you'll know that your life is congruent with the message you're imparting to your kids.
What are specific things you can do in teaching character traits?
- Start by examining an extensive list of character traits.
- Choose traits you want your kids to learn about.
- Discuss these traits with your children, giving examples of people they know while discussing the traits.
- Have kids write sentences which helps in reinforcing each character trait.
For instance, when I was teaching English as a Second Language in the early 1970s in Hartford, CT, I couldn't successfully teach good character traits like honesty. (I easily could have taught bad or negative character traits like dishonesty).
Here's some rhyming verse I wrote for HeartMinders.Being Honest with Yourself
When you tell yourself stories, you live with lies;
which is fine and dandy, unless tomorrow you die.
When you’re in pain, and conflicted, unsure what to say;
truth is your strength, it saves the day.
You hold your head high, your heart can rest;
knowing you’re honest, that you’ve passed the test.
When you’re honest with yourself, you’re authentic and real;
you live with strength that no one can steal.
You tell no lies you must remember and track;
when you’re honest with yourself, the truth you don’t lack.
Honesty with Others
Fooling others is simple, its not hard to do;
and over the years, I’ve fooled quite a few.
After life times of deception, I got sick inside,
feeling the anguish of telling untruths and lies.
When I stopped fooling myself, I fooled others less,
My life became peaceful, I live with less stress.
When I finally got disgusted with my bad character trait of not being honest, I changed.
Most of us don't change habits and patterns we become desperate, until we reach rock bottom, and seemingly are forced to change.
Then, we look for....
Examples of Character Traits that Inspire Transformation
What are some Christian character traits or character traits of extraordinary leaders that might inspire and empower kids?
We live in a fear based world. Especially since 9/11, Americans have become more fearful, knowing that we are as vulnerable to attack as anyone else.
Most parents (unconsciously) teach their kids to be fearful, instead of inspiring them to trust and be bold.
Let's examine trust, which has the following meanings:
- reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
- confident expectation of something; hope.
- confidence in the certainty of future payment for property or goods received; credit: to sell merchandise on trust.
- a person on whom or thing on which one relies: God is my trust.
- the condition of one to whom something has been entrusted.
- the obligation or responsibility imposed on a person in whom confidence or authority is placed: a position of trust.
- charge, custody, or care: to leave valuables in someone's trust.
- something committed or entrusted to one's care for use or safekeeping, as an office, duty, or the like; responsibility; charge.
When teaching character traits such as being more trusting than fearful, you have to bring God into the discussion.
A deep faith and belief that everything is OK is crucial.
The more you trust that God is in charge of everything, the easier it is to trust that whatever happens to you is OK, especially when things become hard and difficult.
Yet, this is not easy for any of us to do. It's quite the challenge but we can strive towards becoming more trusting daily.
An excellent book by Senator John McCain that deals with character traits of extraordinary leaders and successful people is Character is Destiny.
Senator McCain lists many of the character traits of extraordinary leaders (you did click the link above, now?), with stories from the live of Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Ghandi and many more.
Teaching character traits when you use examples such as the ones mentioned in Senator McCain's book make your job much easier.
Here's some character education lessons and ideas you might find helpful if you're teaching character traits.
Character Traits of Successful People
Today in the USA, teaching character traits is more important than any time in recent history.
As I stated in an article I wrote for Ezine Articles, something is amiss in our beautiful country. We need an overhaul of our character values as we've become a country obsessed with material well-being at the expense of our moral and spiritual values.
We've neglected the values that made us the freest and best country in the world, having become obsessed with stuff.
Here's more rhyming verse about what happens to people when greed is the dominant value in their lives.
Servant to Fluff
Stop slaving to money, possessions and stuff;
so your heart's not a servant to all kinds of fluff.
Possessions and stuff can never make you real;
So be careful when you think of money you might steal.
Money is cool, it gives you freedom to explore;
Yet for personal peace, grow humble in your core.
Money is grand, it pays all the bills;
yet a lopsided focus causes all kinds of ills.
When your mind lives with greed, and you cheat to get ahead,
your spirit becomes bankrupt, your heart’ s almost dead.
From what I've read, greed is not among the character traits of successful people, depending on how you define success.
If you want your kids to be successful, help them to determine for themselves what success means to them.
Even at a young age, kids have an idea about what success is and how important it is. As you know, your kids will learn by your example.
Teaching them character traits that make the world a better place is my preference. Choose for yourself what is most important for your kids and live your life with as much joy and love as possible.
By doing so, you'll be teaching character traits that will live forever in your children's heart.
Here are some examples of character traits.
What is Your Best Kept Secret for Inspiring Character Traits in Children?
Do you have a great technique for empowering kids with character traits? Are you able to inspire kids with important traits that make them better people?
Here's a place to Rave about your empowering skills!
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