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The Character Badges Program
Character Badges

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).

Inspiration, and more:

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