Why Character Training?

Why do we put so much emphasis on Character Training? I believe in being a proactive parent. That is, I want to be ahead of the game so to speak.

  • I want to instil in my children a love of truth before they are tempted, or form the habit of lying.
  • I want my children to know how to serve others before they get established in the habit of looking after number one!

It is true, my children are going to sin – they are going to get things wrong, and fail in areas of their life. Being proactive isn’t about having a perfect family, and being a perfect parent. Being proactive is about not running around putting out parenting crisis fires; it is about instilling into our children the things we want them to grow in, before they are in the habit of doing otherwise.

I heard the other day that our brain develops behavioural pathways. These pathways are developed by repetitious doing and when we find ourselves in a situation we will immediate react according to the set pathway (should there be a pathway in connection to the circumstance). If my child is exposed to the right way of handling hurt and disappointment then, should they find themselves in such a situation, their brain will trigger a response according to the pathway previously set. This is exactly what Character Training is.

I want my children to have:

  • Pathways that will help them respond to hurt with forgiveness and security.
  • Pathways that will help them persevere through hard tasks and not give up.
  • Pathways that will help them to be thankful for small things. And so forth....

I guess put it that way it sounds a bit like brain washing. I have no intention of removing my children’s own thinking powers in this training. To the contrary – for them to own their own character, they have to be thinking, and choosing for themselves. It is up to me as the parent to set the circumstances around them, to enable them to understand what is right and to practice, practice and practice making those right choices.

We are not just talking of another set of rules and laws – in a nice wrapper. Character is all about knowing what you are doing and why.

There are three reasons why people do what is right:

  1. Fear
  2. Selfish gain
  3. Because it is right

I think we can all picture a child making the right actions for any of these reasons.

They quickly give back the toy when they see mum walking towards them! Fear!

They generously give a toy to another child knowing full well that the other child will drop the prize toy that was the initial motivation for giving away that alternative toy! Selfish gain!

We do also see a child being sincerely giving and caring when their sibling gets hurt. Because it is right!

Character Training is really about filling that moral warehouse – giving the children a store of right responses, right reasons, and the tools to make right choices.

Live life with your kids!

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