Character Education Comes First: Why Academics Are My Second Priority

One day my daughter took on the seemingly simple task of summarizing a page from a book.  It was a small page with simple information.  So, it was a total breeze, right?  No drama or tears, just simple writing?  WRONG!!!  This simple writing assignment gave us yet another chance to put character education ahead of academics.  In our family, developing character traits like patience, perseverance, and  coachability is far more important than stellar academics.

Character education should always trump academics in school. Putting character first will make everything else easier! #charactereducation #homeschooling #parenting
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Patience Is A Key To Success

The most common word to describe today’s youth is ‘entitled’.  They want everything handed to them RIGHT NOW.  Without effort.  Without waiting.  Patience is the opposite of entitlement!  We don’t always get what we want instantly in this world.  In fact, life rarely works that way.  If kids don’t learn that when they are still kids, it’s going to mean bad things when they are adults.  Bad things for their education, for their careers, and for their families.  Patience allows us to ‘pay our dues’ and work our way up the ladder.  Without it, we give up when we don’t have instant gratification.

Want to know the key to teaching patience?  Model it MORE than you talk about it!  Be patient with your kids whether they are learning to multiply or sweep the floor.  When they struggle, stay patient instead of losing your cool.  I know it’s hard because you’re tired, and busy, and just need two minutes of peace.  BUUUUTTTTT, how can we expect them to stay patient when they are frustrated if we don’t do the same?  If we impatiently tap our foot waiting for them to get their shoes on like we asked, they’re going to impatiently tap their feet waiting for the cup of milk they asked us to get, or get their dream job!

Perseverance Will Take You Far

When your kids make a mistake, do they get stuck, or do they try again, determined to do better? Perseverance means that when you fall down you get back up, brush yourself off, and try again.  It means that when you struggle, you choose to keep fighting.  People with perseverance don’t give up when things get hard.  They find ways to work around their struggles and succeed.  Without a doubt you NEED to focus on perseverance as a part of character education.

My son Milo is the perfect example of the benefit of perseverance.  Over the last 6 months we have found out that he has significant motor planning problems.  That means his brain has trouble figuring out how to carry out even the simplest of tasks.  Basic things like coordinating when to breathe vs. when to speak while talking, or producing smooth, coordinated movements are quite hard for him.  With the struggles he has, things like walking, climbing and reading should have all been too hard for him.  Yet he has found ways to do them.  He shouldn’t be able to do half the things he can do.  Yes, he does them in ‘unique’ ways, but that’s part of perseverance!  When his brain hit a roadblock he just found a way to work around it!  (Side note: if your kids are having similar motor difficulties, check out my posts here and here about having children with special needs)

Give your kids the opportunity to struggle (and even fail).  As hard as it will be in the moment, it WILL serve them in the long run.  It will give them the opportunity to learn how to cope with failure and keep pushing through in the safety of your home.  Practicing failing with you there to help and guide them will give them the tools to deal with it when they are adults.  Failure is GOOD for them!  Did you know that children with learning disabilities are more likely to become successful entrepreneurs?  It’s because they are forced to learn to persevere at an early age!

The Most Important Thing to Teach Your Kids

When it comes to character education there is a lot to do.  We must teach our kids kindness, generosity, patience, and perseverance.  Most of all, though, we must teach our kids to be coachable!  Un-coachable kids become un-trainable (and often un-employable) adults.  They lack the humility necessary to learn from others.  We’ve all seen it in our own kids and others.  They lash out when you try to give instructions on how to do a chore.  Others melt down into tears when editing a paper together.  Don’t even think about suggesting how they might do something differently next time to get a better result.  Un-coachable kids can’t handle guidance and advice.  They won’t tolerate ideas or suggestions on how they can improve (and thus will never improve).

Being coachable means that a child is both willing and able to take instruction from others.  It is being humble enough to accept that someone might know better than you.  Then being willing to learn from them.  Isn’t that something we all want for our children?  The tricky part about this is that it really must be taught by example more than anything else.  Sorry, moms, but this can’t be a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ thing.  You MUST set the example!  Let your kids see you struggle.  Admit when you’re wrong- in front of them! Ask for help and let them see you graciously accepting it.  Let them teach you things.  Be a coachable person so that they can model your ways.

Character Education Over Academics

Character education comes first.  No doubt about it, teaching good character will always outrank teaching academics.  Don’t get me wrong, folks.  I don’t believe in blowing off book learning.  Quite the contrary!  I simply know that by putting character education first you’re going to make all that formal ‘schoolwork’ much easier.  Imagine starting to teach long division with a child who is already patient and has a coachable spirit! Wouldn’t that save you loads of frustration and tears?  So, no, don’t neglect academics.  Just keep your priorities straight.  Character education comes first!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Kim
    Love this post! Thank you!
    1. heather
      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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