How can something so simple be so powerful?

School is in full swing and I think it’s a great idea to reward our kids for working hard and making good grades. But what if we put as much emphasis upon rewarding them for the fruit of the spirit as we do for the fruit of their intellect.

When I served as Principal of a Christian school I developed little certificates to present the children each week based upon godly character traits. For four years, every week I personally signed and handed out thousands of “Character Awards”. I thought surely the kids had to be getting bored with them but over and over again parents told me how their kids prized and collected those 5×7 slips of paper.

Each child who went the entire week without a “demerit” was automatically awarded a certificate for “Obedience”. If they did get a “demerit” they could do extra credit and earn a “merit” to wipe out the demerit.

In addition to all the “Obedience” awards each teacher had a list of character traits and was required to turn in at least one other “winner” a week. Yep, required.

If we don’t force ourselves to focus on the positive, by nature we only see the negative. We don’t notice the 20 times the child obeys but send up flares when he messes up.

Additionally, we required they rotate the “winner” so each child would receive a character award for some trait during the year. Sometimes it took a bit of “creativity” and focused attention to find something to praise in the child but I wanted each child to be recognized for at least one trait God had deposited into them.

Maybe you could do something like this at home. Every Saturday present a certificate for demonstrating a character trait or fruit of the spirit that week. It could be a great way to get both you and your children focusing on the value of eternal beauty.

In case you are interested, I did a little research to get you started.

The fruit of the spirit – Galatians 5:22, 23
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

A list of character traits.

Some very nice certificates. (You don’t have to go this fancy but these can get you started.)

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