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.
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:
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:
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!
- Make it part of your long term parenting plan to hand over more and more responsibility to your kids.
- 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.