We Choose Virtues is an excellent resource to help aid in teaching virtuous behavior to your children. With our little ones, we have been using the Parenting Cards (NIrV) for children ages 3-11. There is an option to purchase KJV cards, which is normally the route I take but in this case I choose the NIrV simply because these cards include both Old and New Testament verses whereas the KJV only reference to the Old Testament.
This program made me realize that teaching virtues to my children does not need to be as hard as I have made it out to be in the past. I think where I got caught up was I was teaching them certain traits, reading them Scriptures and then just hoping for the best. Of course when they weren't "getting it" I would feel as though I was failing. What I needed to realize is that the key to change is realizing you need a change! And not only knowing that you need a change but understanding that you can change. That is what sets this program apart from any other "method" that I've tried. This program uses Scripture, family honesty, forgiveness and practical age-appropriate activities to teach virtues not only to your children but your family as a whole.
It begins by having each member of the family fill out a Character Assessment Form. This is basically a "test" to see how well you currently exhibit each of the Virtues that will be taught.
This can certainly be eye-opening for children as well as adults. It was interesting to compare once we finished filling these out! One of my sons and I were almost exactly the same which was certainly interesting! I thought this test would be boring for them but they actually really enjoyed it.
We told them that after a while we would retest them and see how they were doing with their virtues and they keep wanting to be tested each week. We haven't done another test yet, I'm still waiting, virtues take time, but honestly I was shocked as to how excited they have been about this. And, we have been doing this for several weeks, and they still are on board, and exited about it!
Sometimes it's easy to forget that our children can indeed change that we don't always give them the opportunity to show us that they can. So giving them room to grow and change using this program has helped them grow by leaps and bounds.
Once each family member realizes their strengths and weaknesses you are encouraged to share with your child that they are life and caterpillar that can change into a beautiful butterfly. You encourage them that they don't need to stay the way they are but that they can change!
Of course I personally believe that every person is born a sinner and that Jesus living in us is what changes us. I also believe that until our children accept Jesus as their personal savior it is our responsibility as Christian parents to not only teach them but to provide a tangible model of what that looks like. This program encourages children to know that change is possible. Powerful. If children can understand this at a young age then they won't grow up believing, "this is who I am, I can never change," which is a lie that hinders many people from truly embracing their call in the Lord Jesus Christ. They don't think they can be what God requires of them because they are trying to do it by their own strengths. But if they realize they can change by applying Biblical principles in their lives then they are well on their way!
My seven year old struggled with this at first. I mean, look at the first three words on the card below:
It reads, I AM CONTENT. "But, I'm not content," he confesses, "If I say this then I am lying!" And no, he wasn't trying to be a smart alec because I could tell he was genuinely struggling with saying he was content when deep down inside he knew that he wasn't. This was an awesome teaching opportunity to show him and his siblings that no, you may not be content now, but yes you can change and here is how! Below shows the back of the card that you use to teach your child how to CHOOSE to use the virtue you are learning about.
The cards are simple, straight forward and take only 10 or 15 minutes to go over as a family. We have been trying to go over a card a week. We were going to do one a day but that just wasn't enough time for the children to really understand what we were doing so we have been spreading it out.
With each virtue there is a practical application that is encouraged. For contentment, the challenge is, "The entire family should try to go the whole day without saying I want or I'm bored." This was an awesome one to try to implement because it made my kids realize how many times they say, "I want," throughout the day. And not only that, they actually were encouraged to change and not say it as much anymore!
There is a cute character that goes along with each lesson, in this case, Cake Jake. The kids love the characters and when we go over a new card they keep asking about who they are going to be learning about that day!
I also received the PDF Download bundle which includes the following:
Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Book (PDF Download) Family Character Assessment (PDF Download) Teacher's Handbook (PDF Download) Butterfly Awards for Kids (PDF Download)
I have to say that overall this program works. My four year old, when learning about patience, sat on the front porch patiently for over half an hour waiting for her best friend coming to visit. She didn't complain. She waited with books and toys and never once had a bad attitude, it was cute and impressive! Kids love an opportunity to prove themselves and this program encourages it in a healthy way!