Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Building Character: Peaceable

As a family, we are studying a character trait each week, and are beginning with the Fruits of the Spirit. We are just getting started, so up until now, we have only talked about Love and Joyfulness. If you want more information on the nuts and bolts of what we are doing, you can read how to get started on this post.

This week's character quality is being PEACEABLE.  There are two main aspects of this quality that I want my children to learn.  1) Inner peace that comes from our obedience to Christ 2) Living in peace with others.  This is one of the character qualities that I added, so I had to come up with a definition myself.  I struggled with word choice, so please feel free to make suggestions or changes to convey the message with more clarity. 

PEACEABLE vs. strife
A calm and tranquil soul, working to live in harmony with others.

Romans 12:18 - "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."

This character quality is especially useful in working on sibling squabbles.  We greatly encourage each child to actively seek out ways to make peace with his brother and frequently quote Matthew 5:9 - "Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God."  Throughout the week, when the family gathers for meals, highlight outstanding examples of peacemaking you have observed throughout the day.  Even with the challenging vocabulary, using Biblical terms like "peacemaker" and "strife" makes a huge difference and gets the child's attention.   These kinds of words are only over their heads if you neglect to teach them. 

This week's Bible story is from Matthew 8:23-27, where Jesus is in a boat with His disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee.  Suddenly, a great tempest blew up and the waves started crashing into the boat.  The disciples were terrified of the storm, but Jesus lay in the lower part of the boat fast asleep.  The disciples woke him up saying, "Lord, save us!  We are going to die!"  But Jesus calmly said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Jesus got up and commanded the wind and the waves saying, "Peace, be still!" (that bit from Mark 4:39) Instantly, the waters were calm and the air was still.   The men marveled, saying, "Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"  And who had the power to do this miracle?  Jesus!

  • The disciples were terrified of the storm, did they have peace in their soul?  Why not?
  • Discuss the instant obedience of the wind and the waves.  If you wish, have a sidetrack discussion on the importance of instant obedience.  (We can always use a review!)
  • Talk about how strife and turmoil in your soul is just like that big storm on the sea.  It is upsetting.  How can we calm our minds?  (by increasing our faith) 
  • This is also a fun story to act out during bath time.  :)

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