Character Training and Books

Character training is something that continues all of our lives. Every situation and circumstance we encounter builds, tears down, repairs the character of our person. Children are even more susceptible to this process, I think; they are more fragile and yet more resilient. It’s important to give them worthwhile examples as best we can. There is perhaps no better substitute than having a role model in the flesh, but I think that having books with characters that exhibit good traits is wonderful as well.

I won’t even try to pretend my character is flawless. I have points I struggle with daily. However, my experiences with virtuous characters in books has helped in ways that my introverted self prevented me from learning from others in the real world. Also, with my own kids, I can see how books have helped shape what they understand about good character traits. Some they try very hard to emulate; others I wish they would.

Slimbook by lacybekah, on Pix-O-Sphere
The first book I might recommend to use in character training is the Bible. There are many curricula available for character development on the market. Some are very well done; others not so much. I’ll leave that to you to decide if they are good or not to use in your home. But I’m not going to actually suggest books for character training. This world is made up of very diverse cultures and beliefs. We cannot possibly experience them all, and especially not {all} in real life. Nor would I hope that we would!

By using books, fiction or nonfiction, we are able to present and discuss a situation before actually being in that situation. There are many situations that I’ve read about that I have never encountered myself; reading about it helps us all by giving an outside perspective. Sometimes we experience a situation in a book so well, and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the character who went through it, we can take it for ourselves. Doing what is right, in any circumstance, would be a treasure we find and keep.

A worthy idea is like a room in a beautiful home. It becomes a place all our own where we can store the treasures we want to keep. Information is just stuff. Christine, Charlotte Mason Basics: Living Books

While discussing these situations and issues that we may {or may not} confront in our real lives, we can see that there really isn’t “do this/don’t do this” in the books. But isn’t that the way it is in life? There are absolutes, yes. But there also times when one “right” is the “wrong”. Reading good books helps us get a feel for what we would or wouldn’t do in that case.

good books by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

There isn’t really a substitute for a real life role model but sometimes really good ones can be found in books. Here are some ways to find books that will help instill good character traits in children:

  1. Think of books you yourself have read that were influential in your life. Did the books have role models you would like your children to emulate? Introduce these to your children.
  2. Ask individuals with admirable character qualities for book recommendations. Of course I am not suggesting taking their list and handing it over to your child. Pre-reading is always a good idea.
  3. Search out books that have situations that you know your child will encounter. Pre-read these and then, if they are suitable, read along with your child.

Of course our example will likely be more influential to our children’s character than any book could be, but sometimes a good book goes a long way in this respect.

What are some books you would recommend to help solidify a good character?

[North1]

North Laurel (46 Posts)

Blossom- "North Laurel" to the online world- lives in Ohio with her husband and two teens. She holds a M. Ed. in Leadership and is the founder of the small Wildwood CM Community Co-op and is working to open Wildwood Community School. You can read her other thoughts at North Laurel's Musings.


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Comments

  1. Mama Squirrel says

    Hi “North Laurel,” this is Mama Squirrel from Dewey’s Treehouse. I am hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling this week. Would it be all right to link to this post? I thought it had some great ideas and didn’t want people to miss it.

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