Have you ever wanted to learn how to become a professional sword swallower? There’s an app for that. Have you ever wanted to check the ripeness of a watermelon? There’s an app for that.
At times, it can seem as if there is an app for almost everything. As technology continues to gain momentum, so our imagination for creating and enjoying apps steadily increases. In fact, there are numerous apps that support us in our parenting. There are different ones that teach kids the alphabet, how to read, how to spell, how to add, how to subtract, how to multiply…the list goes on. But there’s one thing no app can teach your child—character. There’s no child who will learn about good character from sitting on the couch and staring down at their iPad. It is our job as parents to build character in our kids. Here are 4 ways to teach character to your kids:
1. Be Intentional. It isn’t called “building” character haphazardly. Be purposeful in taking on the task of building character in your child. Recognize that this is not a one day job that you can check off your “To Do” list. Rather, this is something you will lay the foundation for early on before adding to it each day as you go through life with your child.
2. Be Clear. Don’t forget that a child is still just that: a child. Be sure to sit down and explain to him what having good character entails. Describe how good character can be doing the right thing even when no one is watching. Good character is being loving, patient, self-controlled, joyful, kind, and gentle.
3. Be an Example. The best way to explain good character to your child is not by what you say, but what you do. No string of right words will ever outweigh your actions. You can tell your child over and over to be respectful to his teachers, but he will forget all your words the moment he hears you gossiping about your own boss.
4. Be Encouraging. Soon your child will start demonstrating moments of kindness, of honesty, of self-control, of love, of goodness. When you have the privilege of witnessing these moments, be sure to recognize it. For example, say to your son, “Wow, I love how patient you were with your sister tonight.” Whatever it may be, reward your child with encouragement.
At the end of the day, you can’t learn character from an app. So when you teach your kids about having good character, make sure to be intentional, be clear, be an example, and be encouraging.
What are some other ways you’ve built character in your kids? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.