(Forgive me, for someone who might be reading straight through these entries. I have a shadow of a memory that this might be familiar. I only hope that, if I do repeat myself in my writings and thoughts, that as the years pass I have grown and learned a thing or two, and am not just riding the same merry-go-round in circles.)
I came across a wonderful idea about raising children the other day. So often we are performance focused, and result based in our parenting. For example, we might praise our toddler "Good job for going on the potty!" While celebrating accomplishments is important, perhaps there is something deeper we can be teaching in these moments.
The example I read added one more sentence to this praise, and, to me, it made all the difference: "Good job for going on the potty! You should real self-control by doing that."
Do you see the difference? In the first instance, you have praised simply the action of going to the bathroom. The child will feel affirmed, and hopefully want to repeat that action. However, in the second instance, you have instructed the child that controlling one's bladder is a form of self-control, and that exerting control over your body is a worthy character trait.
Yes, I know that a two year old is not likely to make that connection. But this parenting technique involves trying to tie a character trait to the positive actions of your child.
Here's one that I managed to get in today. Colin proudly told of how he was really holding his own playing soccer with the older kids at school. "I'm doing so much better!" he exclaimed. I first shared in his joy, and then added "Isn't it amazing how your hard work and perseverance have helped you improve?" Raising a child who is good at soccer is fun for him and I, but raising a child who is learning the value of hard work and the reward of sticking to something is invaluable.
Here is a list of 49 character qualities found on the chart I printed off from here. (This chart includes a scripture for each trait also.) The chart also includes the opposite of that character quality, which is useful in providing a quick idea of what that trait is about. I have hung this chart on my fridge so that each day my eyes will fall on these traits, and hopefully they will lodge themselves in my mind and be on the tip of my tongue throughout the day.