My Blog = My Life + lesson

How We're Trying To Teach Our Children Good Character | A Character Badges Review

I'd like to blame it on the winter weather, but I know better. A bad case of the Grouchies seems to be ruling our home lately. It has nothing to do with being snowed in, and everything to do with the sin that lives in the hearts of our children, just as it does in mine.

The last few weeks have been particularly trying. Boredom and sickness make a good breeding ground for poor manners, foolishness, and bad attitudes. It was time to recommit to some serious character building, beginning with myself.

My friend Caroline and her husband Sean created the Character Badges program around the same time as my resolve, and I was eager to give it a try.

Previously, I've shied away from using character building programs because we want to teach our children good character without making them believe that their "righteousness" can earn something. When they fail in their attempts to "be good" and cry, "But Mommy, I can't be good!", we need to point them to the Cross and say, "I know, honey. Mommy can't be good either and that's why we both need Jesus!"

Here's how the system works.

The Character Badges program comes with three charts (the Obedience Chart, Disobedience Chart, and Consequence Chart), flashcards that reinforce biblical characteristics with a Scripture verse and a simple illustration, and a series of badges to be rewarded for good behavior.

The Obedience Chart lists several good character qualities (and leaves a few blanks so you can fill in particular areas of concern), along with a row of check boxes to mark off when you notice your child exhibiting good behavior.

Throughout the month, you can reinforce positive behavior by allowing your child to mark off a check box when you notice they have done something kind, worked hard, told the truth, or were quick to obey. Our children are not allowed to fill in or ask to fill in their own check boxes and can only do so when we pick up on something and give them permission.

Once any one of their rows have been filled, they get rewarded with badge to wear for the day. The Character Badge creators suggest accompanying the badge with a special prize, outing, or gift to help keep your child motivated.

Also included are Disobedience and Consequence charts. They are similar to the Obedience Chart in that a check box is meant to be marked off when you pick up on poor behavior (i.e. lying, laziness, hurting others, etc.).

The first day we put the program to use was interesting. The badges were a great incentive to good behavior, and my favorite moment is when our daughter announced, "You know what? It's actually more fun when we're being nice to each other!" Imagine that.

Then the first infraction happened. Instead of disciplining like I normally do, I decided to utilize the Disobedience Chart. One offence led to another and the idea of having to mark down her sin completely stressed out our child-in-training.

I realized that she didn't need a long list of offences hanging over her head. She needed to know that when we confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive it, and purify us from all unrighteousness. He removes our transgressions as far as the east is from the west, and we too should keep no record of wrongs. (1 John 1:9; Psalm 103:12; 1 Corinthians 13:5).

So, we decided to use the Character Badges program a little differently then recommended. The beauty of this program is its versatility. You can make it work according to your own convictions and family's needs.

We've chosen to do away with the Disobedience Chart and stick to our normal method of correction that includes an immediate discipline, repentance, forgiving and forgetting. This is a great time to use the flashcards to remind your child how they should have responded in the situation. Regularly referring to the short, simple, Biblical lessons appropriate to the offence will help them remember what godly behavior looks like.

The Consequence Chart is privately kept by me to keep my own anger in check. By writing down what kind of consequences are appropriate for particular infractions, I'm less likely to fly off the handle and assign a discipline too severe for the crime.

The kids love wearing the badges and I definitely notice an extra effort on their behalf to behave. We tell them that the Obedience Chart is merely a tool to help them get into the habit of doing what is right because it is right to do what is right, regardless of whether or not they get a reward. The eventual goal of the Character Badges is to have no use for them at all.

As with any method of character training, it can be easy to fall into the trap of Pharisaical legalism. But, with regular reminders that good character must be more than a public display for Mom and Dad, the Character Badges can be a great tool in cultivating godly habits that will hopefully become natural, even when no one is watching, because they are ultimately rooted in sincere love for the Lord and a desire to obey His commands (John 14:15).

The Character Badges program officially launches today! The main program (recommended for ages 5-12) is available for $9.99; the Littles Program (recommended for ages 3-5) can be bought separately for $5.99. Bundled together, you can purchase both for $12.99.

If you enjoyed this post, you may wish to follow Growing Home for updates via Google Friend Connect, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, or have them emailed directly to your inbox. In the interest of full disclosure, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, I receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products I use personally. Your purchases through these links help support Growing Home. Thank you for your support.

art, book, curriculum reviews, favorite, holy living, holy living resources, HOME, homeschool resources, homeschooling, and more:

Relevant to: How We're Trying To Teach Our Children Good Character | A Character Badges Review + lesson