8-5-13 Sandra photoEvery Monday, I’ll post about discovering genuine hope and authentic answers for living a healthy life.

Today’s blog is written by a friend who was on staff back in the years when we offered prevention programs in the middle schools. I greatly respect Sandra Critz and her husband, Martin, who is on our Board of Directors. They’ve done a marvelous job raising their children and now investing in their grandchildren. I’m grateful for Sandra’s support and today’s blog about instilling character in children. Learn how she does it and why.

An air of excitement was in the classroom, as my middle school students waited with great anticipation for me to give each of them a personalized gift. What was this gift? Was it tangible?

I was ready to give them the gift of individual character affirmation, and they embraced each encouraging word with delight and gratefulness. The gift was also a two-way blessing, as the character quality of attentiveness was fine tuned in my life. It had to be so I could properly observe and record the specific actions of their character strengths.

One of my greatest joys through these many years as a parent and an educator has been found in helping my children and students discover and develop their character identities. It becomes a wonderful foundation on which to strengthen and steward their learning intelligences and to fulfill their life purposes. It also allows them to be successful in adhering to the code of ethics established in our families and in the classroom.

You can do what I did and still do. Identify the character qualities you notice and clearly define them for the children. If you can, illustrate how each helps kids be smart with their smarts. You could ask children what other qualities they think are present in their lives.

When I have found positive character qualities are underdeveloped, the valuable change process described in detail by Dr. Kathy in her book, Finding Authentic Hope & Wholeness has been an essential tool. As a parent and teacher, I have also benefited greatly from applying the change process to my life. I hope you’ll look for that in the book and at the website here: https://celebratekids.com/authentichope/fahw/chapter5b.html

Our character identities help us make wise choices, so we can earn others’ trust and respect and trust ourselves.  They aid our children and students to become people others want to be with and to recognize people who are good for them.  Character development gives them the tools they need to positively influence and help others and to respect themselves and others through competence.

Yes, helping my children and students build their character identities has been a wonderful discipleship relationship in which truth and virtue passes from one generation to another.