"Your character will determine your usefulness to the Lord now and later in life." Thus
begins the Christian Character book, an easy-to-use, do-it-yourself guide for
10 to 14-year-old students. This spiral-bound book covers 28 important character
traits--from compassion to dependability to self-control--that all Christians
need to develop, but is broken down into bite-sized morsels for easier understanding
and application. The curriculum is easy to use--for the solo student or for a
group. It is written in plain language and is easy to understand and digest.
The book covers one trait per chapter, for a total of 28 lessons. Each chapter is broken down into Student Exercises, a Personal Evaluation, and a section for Goal Setting. After a brief description of the character trait, the Student Exercises require the learner to look up multiple Scripture verses that apply to the subject and then match them accurately to the statements of practical application that follow. The Personal Evaluation is a list of a few dozen statements that help the student identify areas of success and areas where improvements need to be made. The Goal Setting section directs the student to set a specific goal and to choose a verse to memorize that will help him or her accomplish the objective. In addition, the appendices present Rules for a Class Discussion (helpful for a small group or classroom), Goal Evaluation Instructions, and Goal Evaluation Sheets.
Besides the obvious, the optional answer key offers the teacher or parent even more insight as to why teaching character is so important: "We are training soldiers, and cannot produce a soldier with strong character through the philosophy of the world--teach, and then leave them alone to make a free choice. A man or woman who is to be greatly used by God must have strong character--Godly character that has been built into life through constant, rigorous training." The author also includes sections challenging the reader about convictions and defending Biblical standards as well as practical suggestions and an interesting section called "The Art of Conversation."
Pros: Character is one of those things that can't be tested and evaluated on a standard achievement test, although it is perhaps the most important quality a student can demonstrate. I offered this curriculum to my 11-year old son to see how he'd respond to doing it alone. He has very much enjoyed it. At his age, it's so important that he's on the right track in his character development, so his continued interest in this curriculum is incredibly valuable.
Cons: It's hard to find fault with Christian Character. It is a Bible study, a guide to entering young adulthood with a Godly disposition, and a conversation starter all in one! The publisher's website, although simple and rather uninteresting in design, offers additional studies that promote further Christian development in the areas of leadership, manhood, Bible study, and more.
I would highly recommend this resource for all families with 11- to 14-year-old students. Even if time is a factor, fitting in Godly character development will definitely be worth the effort. Christian
Character is written so that you and your young adult can go back through the book again and again, each time gleaning more teaching and developing more character from God's Word.