On the weekend I went to a Character First Seminar run by Brian Ellis from Character First Australia. We have been using Character First material for 9 years or so – it has been a very significant resource in our family life. Peter and I organised the seminar with the hope of encouraging families in the community. We certainly came home from the day encouraged ourselves.
Here are a few thoughts that were shared that I will ponder on for the next little while.
Regret – I’m sorry I got caught!
Remorse – I don’t like these consequences
Repentance – I want to change
My thoughts: Sometimes I think I accept remorse in my child and then wonder why we keep dealing with the same situation over and over and over again. I need to teach into these situations so my child knows what they did that was wrong, why it was wrong. My role is to help them see why it is beneficial to their life to change. Only repentance touches the heart.
2. My Character needs to rule over my reactions.
We can either react or respond.
Responding is when we act with character to the situations and circumstances around us.
3. The big picture for parents:
Our attitude needs to be: “How can I help you to reach your full potential”
4. Deal with the root of their behaviour
We begin our training or correction with the question “What character quality, had it been present, would have avoided the situation?”
My thoughts: I know this one but hearing it again was a prompt or reminder that there are times that I take a pragmatic parenting step – do what works for the immediate, instead of working on the deeper issues. We can deal with the behaviour, it is external, we see it and we can make our kids change it – that is behaviour modification parenting, or we can deal with the heart issues. Character is an issue of the heart. We need to teach, practice and expect our kids to make character based choices.
5. Character is about me.
My thoughts: it is easy, as a parent, to get caught up with all the training that needs to go on in my child’s life. Though we are aware of our shortcomings, we generally see those in terms of what I have to fix in order to be a good example for the things I want my children to learn. I have been challenged to look at my life and consider an area of weakness in my character and set out to change. Afterall, this is what I do for my children. I need to do it for myself. Brian had us look at a list of 49 character traits and consider two that we need to work on ourselves. This was a very worthwhile exercise.