Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Where Has All the Integrity Gone?

On my facebook page today, a friend complained that the quality of customer service in the U.S. has deteriorated.  (If you don’t believe this, just try to get technical help for a computer problem.)

My friend lamented that many places are going with automated help only, partly because they no longer wish to deal with rude customers. The discourteous have ruined the old saying, “The customer is always right.” Anyone working in retail sales will confirm this.

So what does this have to do with homeschooling? A few good character qualities will take our children a long way in their education and in life in general.

Diligence—If they learn to do their work on time without dallying at home, they’ll be miles ahead in a college class or in the office where they work.

Commitment—Learning to stick with the things they begin, no matter how hard it is, they will be less likely to bail out on relationships when the going gets tough.

Honesty—How many people all over the world would like to find one honest worker? A boss will promote the person he can trust.

So how do we teach these character qualities to our children?

I recommend you begin with the Bible. The book of Proverbs is marinated in truths about character qualities. Have you children memorize them. The life of Jesus as presented in the gospels will inspire them to be more like our Savior. Find those character qualities and admire them with your children. When real-life situations arise, they can “practice” being like Jesus.

Reward them when they finish assignments on time without being nagged.

If they begin something, even a sports team, and find they don’t like the leader or coach, the assignment or amount of playing time, or the classmates or teammates, encourage them to stick with it. They’ve committed to a team, and the lessons they learn in over-coming the difficulties will enrich them for life. It’s hardly a lesson in commitment if they can drop something the moment it gets hard or doesn’t go like they expected.

How about trusting them to grade their own math assignments? It’s one area where it’s black and white, and having the integrity to mark their own problems wrong, can teach them how to be upright.

Character qualities trump academics in importance. After all, what good is a genius in math if he can’t be trusted?

What resources for teaching character qualities do you use?

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