Character School is Always in Session!
The old adage about “doing what I say, not what I do”
is a bunch of hooey and doesn’t work.
There is no summer break for character training. Oh, how I wish there were. Everyone takes a break from academics, even those
who homeschool year round; they just take
smaller, more frequent breaks. But the character training part of homeschooling is so . . .
About the only time we get a break from
character training is when we’re sleeping,
and even then, I feel like the kids are watching us . . . following our example . . . emulating us. Ugh, it gives me the willies. 1
Take the subject of math. It is so simple.
You open the textbook, explain how the
numbers work, and then load the kids up
with practice problems. If they get them
wrong, you correct them, let them try
again, and then close the book to move
onto another subject. Not so with the subject of loving one another.
You might be thinking, “You need to use
the Bible as your textbook which is filled
with examples of loving one another. That’s
all you need. Because all Scripture is in-
spired by God and profitable for . . .” This is
all very true, but reading it is the easy part.
We read the accounts of loving one another,
unconditional love, patience, kindness—
and all that other stuff about loving and
serving—but it doesn’t help when, as you’re
teaching those very verses and passages
about love, one of the kids with a bad attitude pushes you to the limit and then you
freak, holler, and threaten, until at least one
of you is in tears.
That’s the thing about character training. It doesn’t always matter what you say
because it’s mostly, or even all, about what
you do. The old adage about “doing what I
say, not what I do” is a bunch of hooey and
The truth is, our kids will do what we do
and become what we are. So, if we’re not
kind to each other, they won’t be kind to
one another. If we don’t show compassion
to one another, they won’t be compassion-
ate. If we don’t guard what goes into our
heads, neither will they. If we don’t get a
bridle on our tongues, you can bet the farm
that they won’t either.
On the other hand, if you’re thankful,
they will be thankful. If you pray and trust
God, so will they. If you honor your parents (even if they don’t deserve it), your
children will honor you (even when you
don’t deserve it). If you love your spouse
unconditionally, they will love their spouse
the same way. If you love your children and
smile at them during school, your children
will do the same for their children when
But if you make your homeschool all
about academics, push through the tears,
and bully your children into succeeding,
then don’t be surprised when your children
don’t want to homeschool their children. If
you don’t nourish your marriage, then don’t
be surprised when they complain one day