order. Obedience should always come
first, then kindness, then helpfulness. I
think you’ll see why this is so important!
If Suzi is being kind and helpful by getting her little brother a drink, reading him
a bedtime story, and finding his blanket,
but you previously told her to get in bed,
she needs to obey. It is the first rule.
If Sam is helping wipe the table, but he’s
pushing his brother’s cars onto the floor in
the process, he needs to be reminded that
“Be kind” comes before “Be a helper.”
So, let’s say you choose to adopt
these three rules for your family. The
next step is consolidating all the little
instructions in your home under the
1. For younger kids, print out images
or draw pictures that represent your
various instructions. Have older kids
write the instructions on individual
pieces of paper.
2. Have the kids help you decide which
rule each instruction fits under.
3. When you see someone not following
a family instruction, simply reinforce
the rule above it. This makes behav-
ior management very simple. It might
look something like this:
Walk in the house (don’t run)
Come when you are called
Wear a helmet when riding your bike
Wait your turn
Use nice words
Be a Helper
Wipe up your spills
Sort the game pieces
Hang up your coat
I will close with the most practical tip I
can give to help you use these rules wher-
ever you go. It will take some practice at
You may have noticed that Obey is a
one-word rule, Be Kind is a two-word
rule, and Be a Helper is a three-word
rule. Instruct your kids to watch you for a
hand signal to know what rule you want
them to use!
For example, when you see from
across the room that Sam needs to be
kind, you graciously get his attention
and hold up two fingers. He sees that
you want him to use the two-word rule,
Be Kind. He knows you want him to
stop knocking the cars off the table. If
you need to bring more discipline later,
you certainly can, but having this quiet
way to communicate with your kids
really helps guide them better than just
giving them “the look!”
I hope you agree that these three rules
are worth your focus as parents. No
matter how old they are when you start,
teaching your kids these three rules will
bring peace to the atmosphere of your
home. Watching them live-out these
virtues will bring a smile to your face!
Heather McMillan and her husband Elton have four delightful children ages
16-22. Together they are family pastors
at their home church in Oregon and enjoy traveling internationally to train
children’s pastors. After a life threatening battle, Heather was miraculously
healed of cancer this past year and loves
to speak about having a deep, vulnerable
trust in God through the journey of life.
Heather is also the owner and creator
of We Choose Virtues, developing tools
to help parents and teachers Simply Inspire Character wechoosevirtues.com/
Her virtue tools are known and loved by
children all over the world.
These lessons can be further reinforced with the We
Choose Virtues Parenting Cards http://wechoose
No matter how old they are when you start, teaching your kids these three rules
will bring peace to the atmosphere of your home.
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