In the previous article in this series, Shifting Parenting Anger from Controlling Mode to Training Mode, I talked about how parenting anger can point out a child’s lack of character. The other point I touched on is that if we seek to take God’s route in using anger provoking instances, we can use it to effectively instruct our children towards godly character.
Yes, anger CAN instill godly character in your children…here is how.
If you were to look up a list of godly character traits, you may find a list like this:
Effectively Teaching Godly Character
The standard approach to teaching children about godly character is to give them a lesson or teach them what the Bible says about why it is important to live in this manner. But, as you and I both know, devoting weeks to a unit study on a specific character trait is way less effective than even a few perfectly timed lessons that speak directly to a child’s heart.
This is where your anger comes in and points specifically at places where these lessons for each of your children will be most effective. So instead of looking at every anger provoking instance you have with your children as a distraction or inconvenience, they instead should be perceived as doorways into teachable moments to perfect their character.
Looking Practically at Character
Stop and think for a moment. What is something one of your children does that triggers your biggest anger response? Now, relate that anger trigger to a lack of character in your child.
Here’s an example:
You may have a child who angers you when you find his toys lying around the house.
I would say, not only does this child lack “orderliness,” but also “stewardship,” “honor” (as others are required to step over the toys), and “responsibility.”
Thus, this child needs to be taught his issue is much deeper than his inability to pick up toys. Instead, the greater lesson he needs to understand is his lack of character.
A Simple 3-Step Process
How do you start teaching those lesson? It is simple if you start implementing these three steps:
Step 1: Speak It
Start using the words “orderliness,” “stewardship,” “honor,” and “responsibility” or whatever lack of a godly character trait mostly contributes to your child’s poor behavior. Using these words on a regular basis not only implants them into your child’s vocabulary, but also normalizes their use in general conversation.
Step 2: Point It Out
Be on the lookout for ways these godly character traits are displayed by both your child AND other people. Point out positive or negative displays of godly character. As you label these displays, help your child to dissect these observations so he/she will also learn how to spot character first and actions second.
You can also create scenarios for your child to observe by acting them out. Employ the use of other family members, puppets, or stuffed animals and act out what a specific godly character trait looks like when it is being shown positively or negatively.
Step 3: Discuss It
Then, removed from the observed situation (further removed if it was an instance involving your child’s lack of godly character), it is time to discuss the situation.
Now, I understand that based on your child’s cognitive ability this task may require prompting, leading questions, or a parent asking questions and answering them while the child listens. All those methods are effective. The goal is not to have your child provide a detailed understanding of the situation, but rather to guide his/her thinking towards the truth embedded in the situation.
Hinging Lessons to a Solid Foundation
When I was working with my children in teaching them godly character in this manner I soon realized this process wasn’t going to happen overnight. In fact, some days our homeschooling lessons were completely set aside so we could focus on character training.
I kept my sanity during those years by focusing on the purpose of those building blocks I spoke about in my previous article and that training my children was not dependent upon my ability to teach these lessons perfectly or even effectively. Instead, God had tasked me with being obedient in teaching the lessons when they presented themselves and hinged them to His immovable foundation…the Word of truth.
Each time we got to step 3, and started our discussion, my Bible (or an applicable verse I had memorized) was nearby. It got to a point where my oldest once said to me, “Mom, why do you always bring the Bible into everything?” My response, “Because life is about God, not us.”
The sooner a child can be moved from a self-centered existence, the easier it is for him/her to rest within the safe boundaries godly character provides. A child who is self-focused will always see godly character as restricting or limiting. If you have a child who constantly fights against your instruction, then getting below the foundation of God’s truth into the dirt of your child’s heart is where your character training focus must focus first.
Instilling truth into a child’s heart depends completely on how prepared his/her heart is to receive truth. In my next article, I am going to start walking you through the process on how to effectively “till” the soil of your child’s heart.
Hang in there. I promise every moment God opens a door for you to teach godly character to your child and use the anger He has given you to fuel that teaching, He will take your efforts and multiply them in your child’s life, even if your instruction is going to involving some digging before the foundation can be laid and the walls can be built.
Connect with SPED Homeschool Conversations
Until then, make sure to check in with me on Tuesday nights at 8pm CST for my weekly live Facebook broadcast, SPED Homeschool Conversations. You can find the broadcast schedule on the SPED Homeschool Facebook events listing. Otherwise, you can watch previous broadcasts on the SPED Homeschool YouTube channel or you can listen to them on the SPED Homeschool’s podcasts.
Parenting Anger Series Articles:
Why We Should Be Talking About Parenting Anger
Parenting Anger Demystified
The Parenting Anger Escape Door
Shifting Parenting Anger from Controlling Mode to Training Mode
How-To Effectively Instill Godly Character in Children Using Parenting Anger
Integrity: Step 1 in Cultivating a Child’s Heart for Instruction
Humble Authority: Step 2 in Cultivating Your Child’s Heart for Instruction
Unconditional Acceptance: Step 3 in Cultivating Your Child’s Heart for Instruction
Forgiveness & Mercy: Step 4 in Cultivating Your Child’s Heart for Instruction
Honor: Step 5 in Cultivating Your Child’s Heart for Instruction
Time Management: Step 6 In Cultivating Your Child’s Heart for Instruction