Helping Your Kids Choose Character over Accomplishments

character over accomplishmentsCharacter over accomplishments.

As parents, we must applaud character over accomplishments. Yet that’s easier said than done. There’s not a parent in the world who doesn’t want his child to be successful. Yet, many of us are guilty of pushing success over character qualities. Why is that?

Is it because “success” is easier to measure than character? Can we more readily define one’s success than character growth? Or is it because we know others are watching, we want our kids to make us look good and we know “good” can be measured by success?

At the end of the day, what matters most is that we prepare our kids to live well. This mean we hone in on character qualities that will guide them through life successfully.

At the end of the day, what matters most is that we prepare our kids to live well. This mean we hone in on character qualities that will guide them through life successfully. Click To Tweet

What is important to us will become important to them. If we’re focused on riches, that will most likely become their focus. If we focus on service and care for others, our kids will want to become helpers, too.

The most important words are about character over accomplishments

When all is said and done, the most important words they will ever hear are the words of Jesus when He says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

It matters not the degrees they acquire, the positions they hold, the titles they amass if they will not hear those words at the end of life. There’s not a thing wrong with acquiring degrees and moving up the ladder if their motivation is good and right.

It’s in the mundane of living that we teach character qualities. We do it, first of all, by modeling them ourselves. We can’t expect kids to be truthful if they hear us telling little white lies. Our kids will have no desire to be generous and gentle if they observe stinginess and crudeness in the way we live.

character over accomplishmentsWinning when losing

One hot April day, our county’s livestock show took place in a long, dusty and humid show-barn.  One class of high school students brought their animals into the ring. Seasoned showmen, these gals and guys were. They’d been doing this for five years and knew the drill. One steer, however, chose not to cooperate. The gal at the end of the rope held tight as he kept moving out of place. Once he stomped on her foot. She grimaced, but remained poised, keeping her eye on the judge while the steer refused to cooperate. At the end of the judging, her steer placed at the bottom of the class. Was she embarrassed? You betcha.

You know what these parents did after she brought her animal out of the ring? They praised her. They knew the self-control it took for her to remain calm and poised in that show ring. This gal had a temper and we knew it. Yet in that moment, she remained poised in spite of her anger at her rambunctious steer. She knew his behavior would cost her placement in Showmanship, but she never let her frustration show. They could have scolded her and told her how she should have handled her steer better. Instead, they recognized character showing through in those stressful moments and praised her accomplishment. You think that gave her courage to keep working on that temper? You betcha.

Catch ’em doing good

Single out the character qualities you want your child to amass, then recognize and affirm them when you see those traits. Applaud and encourage integrity in the daily of life. When a child helps another child do his chores or pick up toys, when a sibling takes the time to read to a fussy toddler, take note, and give credit. When your habitual liar actually tells the truth, praise him instead of declaring, “It’s about time!”

When your child barely passes a test but refused the temptation to cheat, applaud his honesty and integrity. If a job is not done as well as you could do it, praise his efforts instead of correcting his small mistakes.

When a kid sees that integrity is more important to mom and dad than wealth, he’ll want to develop integrity.

“Do as say and as I do.”

The most profound way to influence our kids is to model it for them. They won’t be able to ignore what you’re modeling right under their noses. Be a parent who can say to your kids, “Don’t just do as I say. Watch me. Do as I do.”

This is the best way to guarantee that your child will get the message that you want him to choose character over accomplishments. While accomplishments are great to cheer on, without character qualities to sustain us through life, what we accomplish means nothing.

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