Teaching Children The Ten Commandments Of Character
God has really been working on me lately, showing me that I need to step up and be more intentional with countering the abuse in my kid’s lives. I have been reading through tons of books on abuse, trying to glean what I can from them, to help guide my children through the gauntlet of confusion my ex creates and to better understand my ex and thereby know better how to counter his manipulations. I am working on the premise that I have to teach my kids to think critically and see abuse for what it is. If I want them to be able to do that, then I have to learn how to do that first.
I am learning that part of stopping the poison of abuse is doing everything I can to bring them up to identify it and then reject it in their own lives. To that end, I read … and I read … and I read. Lately, I have been reading Character Disturbance by George Simon Jr [Amazon Affiliate link]. About midway through the book, he presents his Ten Commandments Of Character. My pen bled all over those pages and as I sat back and let it all sink in, I thought maybe I could distill that information down into terms my kids can understand, and then use it to teach them the principles of good character. In the process of doing that, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to share with other mommas who may need this for their kids too.
We are the ones who need to teach our kids and help them develop the skills they need, to not only fight the impacts of abuse on their lives, but also develop the character traits they need to stop the cycle of abuse and refuse to become abusers themselves.
Here is what I came up with, paraphrasing Simon’s Commandments in simpler, shorter language, to make it easier for children of various ages to understand. It is my hope that it will help but I would also encourage you to read the book, as it goes into much better detail than I can here:
The 10 Commandments Of Character
1) You are not the center of the Universe. It’s not all about you. Think carefully about how you act will affect the people around you. You live in this world with many other people and they all have needs and feelings, just like you. Be careful about what you do, because your actions can either hurt or help other people.
2) Remember, you don’t deserve things just because you think you should have them. That’s called entitlement. But God gave you your life as a gift. You didn’t earn it. Try to be thankful and grateful for the gifts you have received from God, instead of feeling like you deserve more. Respect the people around you and treat them better than you would treat yourself. Go out of your way to help them and give to them, instead of just taking for yourself.
3) You are important to God but you are also not the most important person in the world. It’s just as important to see that you aren’t better than other people, as it is to know that you also do have value. Your talents and abilities are given to you by God. They aren’t from you. You should be thankful to God for them and give Him the credit for them. Your merit is in what you do with what God has given you. That’s what matters. God gave you your gifts. You need to make an effort to use them to honor Him and help others.
4) Truth is very important because lies hurt other people and hurting people is against God’s laws! Don’t tell lies, cheat or manipulate to get what you want. Be truthful when you have made a mistake and take responsibility for it. Don’t take short cuts by lying, cheating or stealing to get what you want. Always be honest.
5) Sometimes you have to go through hard times to grow and to love better. God wants you to live and be happy, but you were never meant to have everything you want, whenever you want it and expect other people to just give it to you. If you just try to always get what you want, you will hurt other people while you are trying to get it, and that isn’t right. You need to make the choice to love other people and to want to help them more than you want to get what you want.
6) Think before you act. Think about what you are about to do, and then think about the consequences of doing that. Just because you want to do something, doesn’t make it good for you to do and it’s important to decide before you do it, whether it is a good thing to do or not.
7) You need to grow strong in love, and in understanding of what is right, so you can be ready to make the right choices, even when it’s hard to do that. That’s part of it. The other part is actually making the choice to do what you know is right and to do what you know will help others.
8) Being mad is not bad in itself. It’s ok to be angry, but it’s not ok to hurt other people because you are angry. Sometimes you will have to fight for what is right, but you need to do it in a fair way. Don’t try to just win or hurt someone so you can get ahead of them. Always respect other people’s needs and rights, even when you are angry and have to stand up to them because of what they have done.
9) Treat others as you would want them to treat you. Even when people don’t act nice, you need to treat them decently. You don’t have to agree with what they are doing, but you do need to behave well yourself.
10) Don’t pretend you are doing something to be nice, if you are really doing it just to get what you want. Tell the truth about why you are doing something. Try to do things because it is the right to do them, not because you want something out of it. Don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t. This is called being Sincere.
I don’t exactly know how to begin this process yet. Right now my goal is just to work on one of these at a time in my kids lives and just work on them as long as it takes to help them understand. Ultimately, the choice is theirs, but I have to try. All I know is that for my kid’s sake, I have to try. I have to try and then leave them in God’s hands.