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?

North Laurel (3 Posts)

Blossom- "North Laurel" to the online world- lives in Ohio with her husband and two teens, homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way with Ambleside Online. She is graciously allowed to be a moderator for the Ambleside Online Forum. North Laurel loves to read, be on the computer, and learn. You can read her blogging about homeschooling, book reviews and life in general at North Laurel Home & School.

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The Parenting Road to Good Character

Teaching Character by Example

Parenting is like a road that begins before our children are born and carry on through the entire journey of a life.  I think most parents hope this for their children, that they will grow into productive honorable men and women. But when does good character training begin?

teaching good character


It’s not always easy, this thing called parenting. Some days you smile and laugh at your adorable child as they smile up at you and bring laughter into your heart and you think all is right with the world. Other days you feel like you are going to lose your mind when you repeat the same instructions, over and over and over again, and again. Yet, that is our job, to train up a child. The child’s job is to learn and this is most often accomplished by repetition.

So how do we train up a child to become adults that have honorable character?

I believe, like anything, the earlier we can begin to teach, train and lead our children in good character qualities the more grounded they will be when they reach adulthood. It begins by setting an example. Children learn best by the example that we live before them. {Tweet This} They see it, hear it, observe it and reflect it in their own life. We set the standard for them, from the earliest of ages.

As our children get older and we begin to set expectations for them and they begin to reflect the life we have lived before them from their earliest childhood. We will begin to see who they may become when they reach adulthood. They will reflect the example you have laid for them. This is where the do as I do becomes do as I say and the two better be aligned. If they do not, then you will be living a lie in front of your child.

Which Parenting Road are You On?

  • If we want our children to have a strong work ethic but we sit on the couch and watch TV all day, then they see that work isn’t very important to us.
  • If we want our children to be honest, yet we lie to cover our tracks, they learn that a “little lie” is preferable to honesty.
  • If we want our children to have strong marriages and we spend our time husband bashing, we fail to honor their father in their eyes and they learn that marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
  • If we want them to exhibit patience, kindness and love to others, yet they hear us grumble, complain and yell at them when they don’t get it right the first time, then they are learning that patience, love and kindness are not as important as the appearance of getting it right.

Parenting your way to good character

We can’t have it both ways. If we want our children to grow up to have good character then we need to walk our road exhibiting good character and we can not swerve from that path. It’s not easy. It requires us to live honestly. If you haven’t been setting the good character example then you can start today. Make changes to show you say what you mean and you mean what you say because you are living the example. Your parenting road should be a the example you want your children to grow into.

What do you believe contributes to children growing up into honorable adults who display good character?

Renée (12 Posts)

Renée Brown is author at her personal blog, Great Peace Academy. She is a homeschooling mom to her one amazing son, Jonathan and has been the wife of her Beloved Michael for 21 years. On her blog you will find discussions about her work as a homeschooling mom, her family and her faith.

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Build Each Other Up: Nurturing Relationships in Homeschool Families

@hsbapost @destinyblogger #homeschool encouragement Sibling rivalry. Teenage rebellion. Peer pressure. Depression. Failed marriages. So many broken relationships.  These are just a few of the problems that plague our culture today.

Is there something different about the homeschool environment that spares us from the troubles of the “outside” world? Not necessarily. The secret may be in our approach to these problems.

@destinybloggerIn a world that glorifies snark and considers sarcasm a fine art, the gift of encouragement is often snickered at as banal. Homeschool families, on the other hand, tend to value encouragement because there is less reason for competition and more opportunity for cooperation when we’re living and learning together.

I consider relationship-building to be one of the homeschooling essentials in our family, which I wrote about recently. I made up my mind early that attachment parenting was the method I would use for raising my children. Homeschooling has always felt like a natural extension of that. It’s guided by the principle that Jesus gave us in Matthew 7:12, also known as the Golden Rule:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Most people regardless of their belief system can usually agree that this is a good standard to live by.

With our focus on academic goals, planning, running the home, and all the many demands for our time and attention, we can get off track with our relationships. It becomes too easy to say, “I’ll talk to the kids about this later” or “I’ll read to the kids after I finish the laundry or the dishes or plan this lesson.” Believe me, I understand. It’s happened to me more times than I care to count. It’s never too late to slow down and make quality time a part of our daily routine. I realized that by including my girls in my chores, letting them work alongside me even though it often slows me down, can be a special time to share together. We have some great conversations that way and can even laugh while we work by singing silly songs or playing music on the radio. It gives me a chance to encourage them as they work together and learn new skills, too. I also realized that letting that load of laundry go till later or even the next day was okay. It’s better to stop and read that story because that is what counts in the end — those are the memories to treasure.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Nurturing relationships can’t be checked off a to-do list. You can’t schedule your interactions with your children. It requires an intentional attention. It requires being in the moment with them. It is not a do-it-once-and-I’m-finished feeling of accomplishment. It is a long-term investment.

What are the dividends of that investment? Maybe it sounds like an idealistic notion to say that some of those cultural problems like teenage rebellion and peer pressure are avoided to some extent by homeschooling. I think the evidence bears this out, though. When I have a chance to talk to other homeschooling moms, I find that they overwhelmingly agree that the time investment has paid off in closer relationships with their children, fewer arguments among siblings, and fewer issues with teenagers. There is a environment of mutual respect that grows out of listening to one another and learning not just academics together, but also life skills with a focus on the things that really matter in terms of lasting significance.  We take our example from Jesus, who desires to be in a close personal relationship with each of us, not as a distant authority figure that we must fear and avoid angering.

Many of us feel like we’re busier than we should be. We rush to meet deadlines, sometimes self-imposed, and lose sight of what we were trying to accomplish things for in the first place. Time is an essential ingredient in nurturing relationships and it’s an area where we have a distinct advantage over “traditionally” schooled families. No matter how busy we are, we still have more time to spend with our children by virtue of homeschooling them.

We should capitalize on that gift of time and use it wisely to build each other up through encouraging relationship.

How do you encourage one another and spend quality time as a family?

Sara (16 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.

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