Thursday, March 3, 2011

Character Q & A: How Can I Start Character Training With My Toddler? Part I of II

Question: How can I start some of the character training concepts and habits that you describe with a toddler?

Answer: If you are just starting out with your family and have only a toddler, you have the perfect opportunity to start out right in the character training of your children! I will offer some general tips below, but even more importantly than the “daily ins and outs” of the ideas I recommend, I suggest that you read Parenting Paradigms at this blog. Even if you take to heart some of the ideas for your little one given in this Q and A, in the end, you will be more successful at character training if you have a firm handle on what you believe about parenting and children.

Toddler Character Training Tips:

1. Start adapting the toddler to your schedule and your family’s lifestyle as soon as you can (six to nine months) rather than making your family’s life revolve around the little one’s “wants.” You want to enjoy your toddler within the dynamics that your family already has (with the addition of the joy and wonder that a toddler brings into the family, of course)—as opposed to making everything change to meet unnecessary and often damaging demands that a toddler who is given his own way all the time can often make.

2. Remember that you are setting the stage right now for your child’s “tastes” (follow us on PP 365 or schedule our seminar for more details about this important concept).

a. You can set his tastes for defiance (allowing screaming, throwing, thrashing, and “no” from him) or submission.

b. You can set his tastes for selfishness and meanness (allowing hitting or other forms of striking, giving in to him when he wants something that someone else has, always making his surroundings whatever he wants (i.e. no bedtime, no sitting in high chair, etc.) due to “fits” or for kindness, gentleness, sweetness, and tenderness.

c. You can set his tastes for hyper-stimulation and activity (too much running; no scheduled down times; television and videos all the time) or for simple things (books, healthy toys, rest, etc.).

d. You can set his tastes to lack focus and not enjoy learning (again, too much video, not starting out with books and simple music; an avalanche of cartoons and children’s programming (some of which are developed in two second bits to keep up with short attention spans, thus, causing kids’ attention spans not to lengthen as they should) or a love for learning (via books, strong family learning and discussion times, etc.).

Tomorrow—deciding “behavior absolutes” for your toddler and establishing routines.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Re-Run From Last Year: "Shoeless" Joe Jackson Part II of II

Yesterday I described how we took our boys to the "Shoeless" Joe Jackson museum and how many teaching opportunities arise when we are looking for them everyday. Today I will describe some of the discussions that followed our museum visit to show how we can carry out the Deuteronomy verse about teaching our kids all the time!

"You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up…”

To get your mind churning about the many ways we can start powerful, life-affecting discussions with our children as we “walk by the way” on vacation, field trips, at the park, in the zoo, and within our homes, I want to give you a short list of some of the talks we had as a result of our hour long visit to the infamous baseball player’s home place. (See yesterday’s post to learn more about our visit there.)

Read through this list and jot down some notes for your family—what things have you watched, read, seen, or experienced that could lead to true spiritual, mental, moral, and ethics teaching in your children’s lives?

*Could a person who broke sports records in a certain game actually be involved in “throwing” that game? Is Jackson’s record breaking that day proof that he was not involved in the cheating? (Jackson made baseball history with his remarkable performance on the day that he supposedly cheated.)

*Does poor leadership and unfair treatment by an authority give us an excuse to take things into our own hands or even “cheat” to get what is due us? (It was purported that the “throwing” was initiated because of the owner, Cominsky’s, mistreatment of his players.)

*What does a hasty response lead to? (It was thought that perhaps Joe Jackson agreed to the cheating on a whim or as a joke but then didn’t really want to or plan to.)

*Does trying to return stolen goods or “dirty money” make everything all right? (It was said that once he did get the money, he went to Cominsky/coaches to give it back as proof that he didn’t want to partake in the activity.)

*What role did illiteracy play in all of Jackson’s troubles? How important is literacy at a basic level and critical thinking at higher levels in not getting involved in things unknowingly? (Again, another reasoning for Jackson’s trouble was his inability to read/write and his signing of documents that led him into more trouble.)

*How did getting involved with evil companions lead to “Shoeless’” downfall? What does the Bible say about negative companions and peers? (It was suggested that Joe Jackson got involved with gangster type of teammates, which led to his demise.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Re-Run From Last Year: Shoeless Joe Jackson Part I of II

Because I am chasing my tail trying to catch up after a long weekend visit to my daughter, I am going to run an old post--one that is appropriate to the character training tips we have been discussing. This post and the next one exemplify the concept of teaching our children all the time--and using everything around us to teach biblical principles and character. Thanks for joining us!

"You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up…”

We have recently spent some time in the Greenville, South Carolina area, first of all visiting our daughter who was working there at the Academy of Arts (and seeing her in the drama, “Little Women”) and then picking up our son from his summer drama ministry travels (and attending the closing ceremonies of the traveling drama teams). One day we had a little extra time and, like we often do, found ourselves at a local museum—the “Shoeless” Joe Jackson Museum. (For more about the Joe Jackson story and more about his little homeplace/museum, see the links at the end of this post.)

With three boys left at home, we try to go to museums and events that will be interesting to guys—robotic exhibits, football museums, IMAX theatres, baseball games, action movies, etc. So when we discovered that Greenville has a “baseball museum,” we headed out to it one afternoon.

As we had our little mini tour (they have “Shoeless” life-long fan club members narrating his story in this tiny museum and defending Joe Jackson against the accusations brought upon him), a myriad of spiritual, moral, and relational teaching was opened up to us with the boys.

I was reminded once again of how many, many opportunities we have to teach our children God’s Word and God’s ways.

Today I will leave you with the verse above that reminds us of teaching our children at all times—and the “Shoeless” Joe Jackson links—and tomorrow I will detail some of the lively discussions that resulted from a sixty minute tour into a man’s life and indiscretions. Truly, we have “material” everywhere to teach our children!

**Info about museum/homeplace:

**Story of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson: