There are many things we wish we did better as a family, and this year we decided to simplify our process by doing one Family Character Focus™ each month, instead of trying to haphazardly work on 20 things at a time. Our theory is that we’ll feel less crazy that way and make better progress.
The goal of this focus is to arm you with resources to help you become a more respectful family in 1 month. There is no wrong way to do it – just look through the ideas and choose the things that fit your family and schedule best.
Becoming a More Respectful Family
This month’s focus is somewhat related to last month’s on communication, but it extends even more into heart attitudes and actions.
I’ve seen this THINK reminder all over the place and I absolutely love it, so I decided to make a printable to help us remember. It goes along so well with communication and respect. I wish I knew who to credit the idea to, please let me know if you do!
Before you speak, THINK – is it TRUE? is it HELPFUL? is it INSPIRING? is it NECESSARY? is it KIND?
Want this printable?
1. Read/Memorize Scripture
The best way to affect a real heart change is to renew our hearts and minds through Scripture, so this is definitely my favorite part of each month.
Here is a list of some great scriptures to read or memorize for this focus (I’m sure we’ll be doing this multiple times):
- Ephesians 6:1-3
- Philippians 2:3-4
- Philippians 2:14-16a
- 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
- Hebrews 13:17
- 1 Peter 2:17
- 1 Peter 3:15
- 1 Peter 5:5
- Revelation 4:11
- Revelation 5:12
A PDF with these verses in an easy to cut out and use format is included in the Respect Printables!
2. Egg Toss
This idea came from the Kids of Integrity site, which has a bunch of other great activities to teach respect also.
3. Crumpled Heart
I’ve seen this concept several places, but the idea is to use a paper heart or a picture of a person on a piece of paper and show kids how their words “crumple” up others and that no matter what, we can’t take them back – you try to again straighten the paper to how it was before and obviously can’t.
There’s also this good idea of trying to get toothpaste back into a tube, which is another way of illustrating the concept, though it’s obviously a lot less free 🙂
Finally, this is another twist, but you could make a cool piece of art for your home to remind everyone to always think about others’ hearts. What I envision is cutting a heart out of tissue paper and ripping it in pieces along with the linked story or your own version of it, then using modpodge to put the pieces on a canvas. I’ll make my own version when I’m back with my art supplies 🙂
4. Brainstorm Respect
I love this idea of printing out the letters of whatever character trait you’re working on for the month and brainstorming together about ways to practice it. You could print and cut the letters from colored or patterned paper, or on plain paper that you decorate, and then write your ideas on each letter and display them throughout the month as a reminder.
Helpful tidbits from here and there:
“Seek to understand, then to be understood.” Anyone anywhere has a more open heart and mind when they feel like you care about them, their feelings, and their point of view.
“Never talk back to a back talker.” When you engage in a power struggle you’ve already called into question the legitimacy of your authority.
6 Things My Kids Are Not Allowed to Say to Adults – I agree with these, but we still have some work to do on this one, mainly because of the objection to #1; because I grew up with #3 and didn’t like it, and because we just need to work on them more in general.
This list of tips for teaching respect is actually a helpful reminder of the different aspects of teaching any character trait.
- My Mouth is a Volcano!
- My Mouth Is a Volcano Activity and Idea Book
- Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners
Have a great idea or resource we should add to this list? Let us know!
Check out focuses for other months here.