The theme for the week for the MeMeTales Readathon is Character Development.
I blog most often about how we play and our homeschool journey. Both of those are important to me, but when I think about what is most important to me as a parent, what comes to mind first is teaching strong character. It will be great is my boys are good at math, eager readers, and creative thinkers, but none of that matters if their hearts aren't in the right place.
This week we read Good Habits to Have!
My parenting views lean strongly towards leading by example. I do my best to keep lectures to a minimum, and I refrain from unnecessary punishments and pointless rewards. I remind myself and my boys often that character is who we are when nobody is looking. I don't reward good behavior, because I believe that teaches children to do right when they think they will get something out of it. It also encourages good behavior only when someone is around to see it.
While natural consequences are often a reality, I limit punishments and do my best to keep the focus where it should be: the condition of the heart.
How do I teach character development without rewards or punishments? By example.
Am I perfect? HA! Far from it. I can't tell you how many nights I go to bed feeling like I failed in the example I set that day. Instead of getting defeated I am motivated to work on my weaknesses. I have four sets of eyes watching me, listening to me, learning from me. Of course they will learn from the other influences in their life, but I am the one who spends the most time with them. I hope that my boys see in me a humble spirit, always continuing to learn and grow.
To go along with the theme this week I created a quick and simple game to play with my older two. I printed a sheet of actions, some good, some bad, and we classified them.
I drew a happy face on one paper and a sad face on anther. The boys cut out each action, and they pasted them to the appropriate side. This was great fine motor practice in addition to a reminder in positive and negative behaviors.
The list included:
picking up my toys
waiting my turn
telling a lie
opening the door for a stranger
setting the table
leaving my shoes out
taking the last cookie
I can't tell you how much it warmed my heart when I read the last card, "Taking the last cookie," and JZ said, "You could split in half and share!" Those are the moments I feel I'm doing something right.
If you missed the first two weeks of the MeMeTales Readathon, you can read about them here: Animals and Friendship.
It's not too late to join the Readthon. Please sign up today and help feed a hungry child!