6 Ways To Build Everyday Character Into Our Children: Part 2

In the late 90′s, Dr. Thomas Stanley of the University of Georgia set out to research and discover the traits of the top leaders, innovators and achievers in various professional industries. Dr. Stanley’s goal was to find out what made these achievers different then the rest of the population and how we too could be more like them. Dr. Stanley’s colleagues initially thought Intelligence (GPA), Top College Attendance and Luck would rank among the top factors for these achievers success. But these factors did not even make the top 10 list. integrity

After thousands of interviews, Dr. Stanley discovered that a person’s intelligence (Most of the subjects were B and C students), college attendance nor luck had much to do with their overall achievement. Almost all of the top 10 factors cited by thousands of these achievers and leaders were character traits learned in the home or through life experience and work.

Therefore (according to Stanley’s research) if we as parents want to truly give our children an advantage in life, we should focus on modeling and building character into our children each and every day.

In this series we will explore 6 ways we can build character into our children on a daily basis:

#2 – Integrity

Integrity can be easily defined as doing what's right even when no one is looking.  Even if no one will find out, even if there is a shortcut.

There was once a time when a man's word was his bond, his honor meant everything and men would duel to the death to defend their word and honor.

Ask anyone who has fallen from grace for lack of integrity and they will tell you it does not happen all of a sudden, it's the slow, daily cutting of corners and "little white lies" that eventually snowball into full blown criminal and immoral actions.

As a parent, whether we like it or not, we are living a 24/7 character profession.  What we do and the examples we set are much more powerful than the words we speak.

If we ask our own children to lie about their age for a measly couple of dollars off an admission ticket, what example are we showing them.

This message from the 80's rang true then and now.


Our children learn the importance of integrity when they see their parents valuing truth and living out our moral convictions.

Proverbs 20:7 NASB says "A righteous man who walks in his integrity, How blessed are his sons after him."

Moral Convictions are what a person is willing to die for.

Until you have something worth dying for, you have nothing worth living for.

I often ask atheists this question.  I myself cannot understand living a life simply for my own pleasure with no ultimate reason or higher purpose.  It just seems pointless.

Four convictions worth dying for in our home are: Faith, Family, Friends and Freedom.   

On top of this, we strive to model these convictions in positive ways not negative ways.  We don't go around talking badly about those who criticize us or do not share our beliefs or political opinions.

My kids hear everything that comes out of my mouth.  At party's, gatherings and social events.

Research by David Kinnaman shows that most people know Christians for what they are against (homosexuality, abortion) than what they are for.  They see Christians as a negative group of people and don't want to be apart of that type of negativity.

The following are some practical ways to model integrity on a daily basis to our children:

1. Obey traffic laws and show respect and honor to law enforcement officials.

2. Don't talk or text on your phone while driving.

3. Never ask your children to lie for you.

4. Take responsibility for your own mistakes and make no excuses.  Ask forgiveness for wrongdoings.

5. Fathers, never allow your children to disrespect their mother.

6. Give you children tasks or assignments that require their follow-through without supervision.  Check back to see if they follow through and carry out your instructions on your own.

Stay Tuned for our next trait:  Poise