Welcome to a new series – Building Character for Boys (Printable Bible Study)

Each post will include thoughts for parents and a printable Bible study for kids to do either by themselves or for you to do as a family. These character qualities are of course appropriate to teach girls as well, but my husband and I have chosen to write these studies with boys as the focus. The main reason for that is that we have four sons, and our primary job is to train the children in our own home. Our examples will involve boys, and honestly we just don’t have experience yet as parents of a girl. However, feel free to adapt any of these for use with your girls! (And when Janie is bigger, maybe I’ll write another series. That could be awhile, though, since she’s only 5 months old…)

I’m not promising a timeline for future posts as our life is rather hectic at the moment! I would like to post at least one of these per month.

This printable Bible study is appropriate for ages 8+, although we did ours all together (ages 11, 8, 5, and 2) and that certainly works as well. The reason I’m saying age 8 is that somewhere around that time, parenting begins to shift from teaching children to obey to training in character. My hope is that this post and the printable study will provide you with helpful tools for bringing God’s word into your family’s conversations in a very real and life-giving way.

Character – Not Simply a Moral Issue!

As we start this series, I also want to point out that these Bible studies are in no way intended to be moral lessons only. I have not included an explanation of the gospel in the Bible study, but as you discuss this study with your children you’ll want to assess what they understand and bring in gospel truths where needed. Since I obviously don’t know each of you personally, it was difficult to write questions that will do the right probing for each situation.

1 Corinthians 5:17 says that all who are in Christ are a new creation. Godly character is ultimately the result of a changed heart! As parents, we can’t change the hearts of our children. But we can show them God’s standard as revealed in the Bible, we can pray for them, and we can teach them about what Christ did for us on the cross. We can also model for them how to grow as a Christian – how to choose a verse to memorize that applies to our struggles and how to pray for God’s strength to help us.

Feel free to skip questions in this study, especially for younger kids. This is a tool for you to use. Do what works for your family.

Building Character for Boys: Work and Responsibility

Part 1: Hard Work and Responsibility

It’s no secret that today’s teens and college students have a reputation for being lazy, distracted (by electronic devices), and lacking in motivation. “Entitlement” in a concept that is foreign to scripture, but raising hard workers takes hard work on our part! I first discovered this as a mom when my first child was 3 or 4. Two year old’s generally like to help. By age 3, that helpfulness starts to wane, and by age 5 they have most certainly discovered “selective exhaustion,” an acute bout of lethargy that causes energetic children jumping on trampolines to become lumps on the floor when clean up time is announced.

And really, who doesn’t feel that way about work sometimes? But when we have character that is pleasing to God, we do what’s necessary, what’s responsible, and what benefits others, regardless of what we feel like doing instead.

I really believe that a firm resolve in the area of responsibility and work separates the immature from the mature. The boys from the men. I want my boys to grow up to be men who take care of their work before relaxing, who honor their employers on earth but more importantly their Father in heaven, and who take the initiative to go above and beyond the minimum requirements.

Here’s a visual aid that we came up with to help the boys understand the difference between the lazy and the diligent.

The lazy boy is a SLOTH:

Building Character for Boys: Hard Work and Responsibility

S – Speeds through work (which means that it is likely not done well)

L – Leaves work for others to finish

O – Only wants to do what is fun

T – Takes too long (dawdling)

H – Half done is good enough

The opposite of the sloth is someone who works with DRIVE:

Building Character for Boys: Hard Work and Responsibility

D – Works with diligence (persistence)

R – Works with responsibility (completeness)

I – Works with integrity (thinking of others, doing what you say you’ll do)

V – Works with vigor (enthusiasm and strength)

E – Works with efficiency (getting it done quickly, yet well; working before playing)

We are by no means perfect at teaching our boys to work hard, and honestly, it’s up to each individual child to respond to the wisdom of God’s word and his parents’ instruction. However, here are a few practical tips that have helped us so far.

  • Set your standards high, but keep your approach positive. Kids can do a lot. My husband has diligently “inspected” our oldest son’s bathroom cleaning efforts for over a year now, providing instruction where needed, and I am proud to say that he can now get a bathroom really clean!
  • Work alongside your kids whenever possible.
  • At our house, the child who does a sloppy job earns the chance to do extra work. I’m not advocating having unrealistic expectations, but there does need to be a consequence for purposeful laziness.
  • Point kids to the cross! This is the most important part, because if kids don’t understand their sin and their need for a Savior, they will never experience true change. We are all naturally selfish and prone to laziness. Even people who are naturally more “busy” can still be lazy if we only want to do what we enjoy and put off other tasks that we should be doing. Take opportunities to point your kids to Christ and what He did on the cross for us. We can be His children, and He is the one who changes our hearts!

NOTE: This Bible study is free to print. However, this is copyrighted material and for your personal use only. Please do not copy and distribute this study without obtaining permission first. Please do not upload this file on Facebook, etc. but instead share a link to this post. Thank you!

To print the Bible study, click below on the blue words that say “Work and Responsibility Bible Study.” This will take you to a second page where you will need to click on “Work and Responsibility Bible Study” again to download the file.

Work and Responsibility Bible Study


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  1. Lauren Smith Sep 24, 2014

    Thank you for this! But can you explain "The reason I’m saying age 8 is that somewhere around that time, parenting begins to shift from teaching children to obey to training in character." ? Maybe I'm not understanding this correctly, but I try to train my young children in character and not just blind obedience. Their understanding/comprehension grows as they grow, obviously, but character building is for little ones too IMO.

    1. Sarah Sep 24, 2014

      Lauren, That's a great question. Don't read too much into what I said - it's not that we don't teach kids younger than 8 about character! In my house, I have a baby, a 2 year old, 5 year old, almost 8 year old, and 11 year old. My 2 year old is not developmentally capable of acting based on "why" most of the time! He needs to just obey even if he doesn't understand why. It's blind obedience, and that's okay. If we're in the parking lot, he needs to stop when I say stop - not wait until we have a discussion about why it's wise to listen to mom in the parking lot. Now that's not to say that I don't explain to him why he needs to listen in the parking lot. I just don't expect him to be reasonable or show a lot of character at his age! My 5 year old is still mostly in this stage as well. He's growing and maturing, but his thought patterns are still pretty simple. He sees the world as far as how it impacts him. Somewhere around or before or after age 8, kids start to be developmentally ready to see beyond themselves. They can start to think about the principles of the Bible more than they could before. My 5 year old (and even my almost 8 year old) cannot read a passage of scripture and apply it to their lives, but my 11 can and does. He is really starting to love God's word in new ways. At our house, we study the Bible together. All of my kids (and me too!) are memorizing Psalm 32 right now. The young ones don't understand it all, but they are definitely learning something even if it's just learning more of the vocabulary of scripture. So yes, we teach at all ages. Now underscoring ALL of this is a need for each child to respond to the gospel and to believe in Christ for salvation. That's where true change happens!

  2. Cheryl W Sep 26, 2014

    Thank you for the time and effort in creating this post and the printable bible study. It's exactly what I was needing for our 7 year old little guy. I SOOOO appreciate everything you said! A great reminder of how to help our little ones grow up to be men of faith and character. Thank you!

  3. Angelia Sep 27, 2014

    This is valuable resources and wonderfully clear teachings especially to my boys of 6 and 5. Thank God for your generous sharing and fervent spirit! Blessings!

  4. Diane Johnson Oct 14, 2014

    Thank you for this. My children have weekly chore charts. BUT, they are being sloths. The oldest (almost 13) jumps on task quickly, but doesn't finish strong. For example, leaves cleaning products in the middle of the floor or stuffs items any where so the task looks done. The middle child (10) avoids tasks and then has meltdowns...when asked why it hasn't been done. The youngest (8) happily starts a task but gets distracted in the beginning pretty quickly.
    All the task are similar to yours. When they were younger, it was easier. So we are going to do your study.

    I home school. Any suggestions on how to make it flow through out our day.

    Thanks Diane

  5. Michelle Nov 14, 2014

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post and Bible study. This is EXACTLY what I have been struggling to teach my 11 year-old son. I couldn't agree more with your desire, "I want my boys to grow up to be men who take care of their work before relaxing, who honor their employers on earth but more importantly their Father in heaven, and who take the initiative to go above and beyond the minimum requirements." As I read that, I felt like I was reading the desire of my heart verbatim. I, too, strongly desire that very thing for my boys (I also have a 2 year-old). I am excited to do this Bible Study as a family, and I pray that the seeds that are being planted now will soon come to fruition.

    Oh, also...I only see Part 1 of this study. Is there more that I am missing? Thanks again for your time and encouragement! Many blessings to you and yours!!!

  6. Chelsea Hoyt Apr 28, 2015

    This is just the post I needed. I'm expecting baby number three in September and I'm trying to get on a schedule with my kids. My oldest son is 7 and we struggle with doing chores. Thank you. Is this the only post in this series so far?

  7. Sally W. May 12, 2016

    Hi! This post says it was the beginning of a new series, but when I did a search no more come up. Did you change your mind about the character building series?

  8. Debra Hinson Jan 29, 2017

    I used this lesson today and the children absolutely got into it! Thank you for making it available

  9. Lisa W Barnes Mar 13, 2018

    Love your visuals. We need more bible studies at this age. I had great starter books in the 4-7 age range. Thank you.

    Appreciate the wonderful comments

  10. Anna Terrell Nov 1, 2018

    This is awesome! Thanks for your time in posting this information. You rock!

  11. Amanda Oct 25, 2019

    Thank you so much for your bible study on let's get to work! I have used it with our 11 year old son along with our continued parenting and corrections. I have noticed a difference using this Bible study in the way he has become calm toward our corrections and what we are asking him to do. I am praising the Lord that the scripture used here and even to the story about Sam and taking the trash out was so relevant to our situation and things we deal with on an almost daily basis. Our son even felt as though he was Sam.
    I am going to look for similar studies that will build on this. Do you have more printable studies on here?
    Again thank you so very much for your guidance and wisdom!

  12. Heidi Solie May 29, 2021

    Praise God! I am a single mom raising one boy. I really needed this as we have been lacking in structure lately. Thank you so much!
    God Bless you!


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