Home motherhood/family/parenting Child Character Training: Putting Proverbs Into Practice

Child Character Training: Putting Proverbs Into Practice

by Kelly Crawford

Child Character Training  Putting Proverbs Into PracticeFrom my inbox:

“I understand the concept of “teaching the Proverbs” and do read them to my children, but can you give specific examples of how I can teach the character traits throughout the day?”   -Cathleen

I’m so glad she asked that question.  In fact, just this week, the Lord has given me two distinct opportunities to see the fruits of this practical, Proverbs training in our home.

First example:


This young child is reluctant.  He is “cautious” which causes him to be a bit negative and less-than-ambitious about doing chores.  “I can’t” is a common phrase and we are working on a more “can-do” attitude with him.


I asked this child to sweep the kitchen floor while I wiped off the counters.  He hesitated with the “I can’t” look on his face.


Anticipating his hesitation, I cut him off and pretended to not even notice.

“Thank you for agreeing to help me!  I bet you’re going to be like the diligent man we talked about this morning.  What was the lazy man called?  (wait for response)  A sluggard.  You are NOT a sluggard.  Do you remember the animal that was so diligent from the Proverbs we read?  Was it an ant?  You’re like an ant!  I’m so happy to have a diligent son like you.”

Task accomplished, all smiling.

Second example:


This child struggles with diligence and working in a timely manner when asked to do an undesirable task.


During our Proverbs study time this morning, I used this child to illustrate the example of a diligent man.

“When (child’s name) cleans the kitchen, if he was a sluggard, he would leave the counters dirty, leave the dish rag wet and crumpled in the sink, etc.  But he wants to be diligent.  So when he cleans the kitchen, he’ll sweep the floors, empty the drain, etc.”

I went on to talk to them about how being diligent isn’t just a blessing for obvious reasons, but that the Bible also says “Whatever you do, do it with all your heart as to the Lord”, and that every task they accomplish has the potential to be “work for the Lord”.

Now would you believe, as I went over the chore list afterward, the child I used in the illustration eagerly volunteered for the kitchen???  (It’s NOT his favorite job.)  He went on to say, “I want to do it by myself”.  And I watched as he cleaned every square inch of that kitchen, down to spot mopping and arranging some cabinets!!!

So I praised him for his diligence, I called the other children into the kitchen and told them, “This is what a diligent job looks like!” and hugged him, expressing how blessed I feel to be his mom.

In both of these instances, I tried to get ahead of the situation by praising their work before it was even done, anticipating that they would rise to the challenge.  It worked.

I hope these examples provide concrete ideas and encouragement for you.  And don’t become weary in well-doing…my children don’t always volunteer to clean out the cabinets.  And it’s not always smiles and hugs at chore time.  But a concerted effort to build these traits sure goes a long way!

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the cottage child July 28, 2010 - 12:45 pm

I think the description – and action – of “getting ahead” of the child in the thought/motivation/action process is key. The usual format is after the fact – criticism (job not done or done poorly) and warning (anticipating failure instead of success), leading to punishment (because who’s motivated to succeed by criticism and failure?).

I don’t intend to over-analyze, but encouraging a child with our anticipation of his success and appreciation of the attitude of his right spirit IS motivating. That coupled with specific instructions and God’s practical examples of behavior and outcome (Proverbs) leaves no room for misunderstandings about our expectations.

Melodie July 28, 2010 - 12:51 pm

I really needed these examples to get a better grasp on “teaching the proverbs”. Thank you so much for this post.

Jennifer July 28, 2010 - 1:16 pm

Great and useful post

Kelly L July 28, 2010 - 3:20 pm

Great suggestions!

Bethany Hudson July 28, 2010 - 6:17 pm

Ooh! Practical application! (claps hands appreciatively like a giddy little girl) Thank you, Kelly 🙂

Diane July 29, 2010 - 8:59 am

I love this Kelly! One thing I do with the Proverbs is have my children copy out relevant ones if they are having trouble with a specific character trait. Your ideas are much sweeter and more fun;)

Fruitfulvine2 August 6, 2010 - 2:06 pm

I like practical examples. My husband and I do this during our family devotions. We can always tell whether they learnt it when they themselves begin to give examples of that particular truth without prompting from us.

Milford Hedegaard May 24, 2012 - 6:31 am

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