#1 Way to Build Character in Kids

CHARACTERCARDS I’m feeling a pull to write a disclaimer on this post. To explain in great detail how I believe in character development in children and how we implement that in our home. But I’m not going to.

I’m going to believe that the people reading this are mindful caring parents that read posts by people they believe to be mindful caring parents. I’m going to believe that we all want kids that are kind, honorable, and generous.

That being said, I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with children’s curriculum. Sound harsh? To be honest I feel a little wild-eyed-crazy about it right now.

As a mom of five young children in a Christian home I’m sure you can imagine the amount of books and resources we have surrounding the Bible, God, Jesus, and Christian life. It’s like All The Business at our house.Or it was. Until I threw 90% of it out.

Why? Because we were having a character development problem.

We were doing a great job addressing our kids behavior. Constantly. We were quick with our go-to answers on why they should do things a certain way according to the Bible. And just to be clear: There Ain’t Nothing wrong with that.

Until we forget about the real character building.

In a moment of true terror at Sunday School one week I realized that All the kids, including my own, were associating their goodness with God’s graciousness.

{Cue wild wailing and gnashing of teeth.}

Listen, we have a problem if all of our Sunday school lessons, bible stories, and teaching moments are centered around our children’s goodness. It’s idolatry at its most damaging, because they will mess up.

Know how I know? Well, when was the last time you messed up? Oh yeah. Every. Dang. Day.

When that day comes it will not be their character that needs to be developed. They will be completely wrecked if their complete faith is in their ability to be “good little Christians."

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Friends, I do believe as parents it is our job to build and develop the character of our kids. I really really deep down do. HOWEVER, we can’t teach our children that their goodness is the basis for God’s grace, because it isn’t, God’s goodness is the basis for God’s grace. Literally the only way to get it right is to start with Jesus. 

God’s grace is not a response to our goodness, our goodness is a response to God’s grace. If we want to raise kids of character we need to be raising kids who know Him.

We have to stop telling our kids we want their identity to be in Christ, when we really want it to be in having Good Behavior. The truth at the end of the day is that there isn’t any such thing. We all sin. We all fall short. We all blow it.

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In that moment we need to know we have a good Christ.

In that moment we don’t need a list of shoulds and have-to’s, we need an already has.

In that moment we need to know His Character.

Because anything we do or get right in this life that counts will only be in response to Jesus’ love for us. So we better make for sure we know just how much He loves us.

We better make for sure that our kids know how much Jesus loves them.

So, yeah, most of the books are gone now. In their place is the real life Bible. Parents that want to show them grace not just preach goodness. We want the scripture on the walls to testify to His goodness. We have thrown out the wobbly pedestal of good character to hold up the rock solid example of Godly character.

Anyone else know this struggle? I’m making monthly character kids to teach my kids about the character of God and their response to that. If you want to join in just click below to download the cards (They are a perfect size for lunch box surprises!)


(There are only four cards, but Beans really wanted to give it a go!)