“Maintain good character”. I tell that to my daughter nearly every day as a reminder, especially whenever she leaves to a friend’s house, the mall, or a school trip. It is an accountability issue with her too, because I will often ask her when she returns home if she maintained good character, and ask for some examples. You may ask: how does she know what good character is? Well, we have taught her. She didn’t just acquire it, because with a sinful nature in us all (we Christians know what that means) good character has to be taught. Does your school do a good job of teaching good character? Do you have specific lessons in the classroom to teach good character?
Attitude is an indication of character, so think of the attitude of students you know or teach, and how that is a reflection of their character. How do you handle differing attitudes in students? Do you chastise bad attitudes, and praise good attitudes? I would suggest that you come up with some specific lessons and rewards for the topic of character. You should also use opportunities in the classroom to point out examples of good, and bad character both in the topics of discussion (when studying Joseph, George Washington, General MacArthur, or Judas Iscariot, Nero, or Bernie Madoff), or when a student demonstrates good or bad character at school. That is one way to teach character, by pointing out bad, or good character examples.
Teachers, staff, and parents should always be a model of good character. How are you doing in that? In a classroom situation, a school or sporting event, or in front of kids or God, how are you always demonstrating good character? Pay attention to that, students are watching, and learning from you!
My Father used to tell me: “Your true character comes out when no one is looking”. That is an important statement to instill in your students. Remember character is something in a student that has to be taught to them, and they have to learn it, and work on it. Be careful how you portray character, however, and think carefully about how you teach it. For instance, I remember my Dad saying right before a spanking “Here comes the belt of character”, and another time, when I was told to clean the manure out of our barn “This job will teach you some character”. I don’t know how those helped me build character, and I probably learned the wrong meaning of the word, so be careful of that. I do know proper discipline and communicating the reasons why the student is being disciplined teaches good character. So ask God to give you wisdom in how you discipline and teach character to students.
The next several posts will cover more ideas on how to teach good character, so visit back soon!