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Catching Children Doing Good

     When my eldest son, Logan, was about four years old, I purchased a small notebook for under a dollar that fit in my purse. On the cover I wrote: “Logging Logan’s Fruits of the Spirit (and other good attitudes),” and began “catching” him doing anything worthy of praise.

     I labeled each page with a virtue found in Galatians 5:22-23: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control, as we were memorizing that scripture at the time. I then added Helpfulness, Gratitude & Thanksgiving, Strength & Courage, Truthfulness & Honesty, and Generosity, attributes we were specifically working on in Logan then.

     I’d see him helping his little sister, grab the notebook, mark a star with the date and a notation about what that day qualified as “goodness.” I quickly filled the pages and had to title new blank pages with a repeat of the virtues. Now that he is age 10, Logan still enjoys sitting with the notebook and reading areas where he has shined through the years.

 At about the same age or earlier I began a similar notebook for his little sister, labeling her book “Tracking Teagan’s Fruits of the Spirit (and other good attitudes).” So the tradition continues, as even their little brother, now almost three-and-a-half years old, is already ready for his book to begin, so I bought his this week and called it “Spotting Stephen’s Fruits of the Spirit.”

     Our youngest son, Stephen, often makes deliberate decisions that I can see require him to opt for “other” over himself: sharing the last slices of an apple (goodness), holding the door for me as I carry in bags of groceries (helpfulness), asking to pray at bedtime (faithfulness).

     When we all get a bit moody these notations remind the children of the ways we’ve seen growth in their characters, how much we love each other’s company, and encourage them that their parents don’t only notice when they forget to take out the trash, empty the dishwasher or pick up their LEGO messes; we also see the good, and take note, as does our heavenly Father!

     Ephesians 6:4 implores fathers to not embitter their children, but instead to train them up with discipline and admonition in the Lord.

     Several versions use the word “nurture” in place of “bring them up.” This is one nurturing way to raise our children to know what we are looking for in their character, focusing on the positive.

     We found this simple tool to work brilliantly for developing a loving relationship with our children to balance out those days of stricter discipline or tired, accidental parenting. I encourage you to implement something similar in your own home. The rewards will be great!

Copyright © 2008-2015 Lisandrea Wentland

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