Character building is one of the best ways to solidify good values in our children. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be taking writing about ideas for helping our children with strong foundations in character. My prayer is that you and I will both be inspired (or re-inspired) to train our precious children in the way they should go with methods that reach deep to encourage and motivate their souls.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Our Go-To List of Virtues
The Fruit of the Spirit is our “go-to” list of virtues as Christians. \We should strive to exude each of these traits in everything we do! Do we mess up? Sure! That’s part of the learning process – and thank God for His sweet mercy day in and day out as we fail!
Fruit of the Spirit Tree
One tried and true method I’ve used with each of my three children to help them understand and begin to display these values is a Fruit of the Spirit tree.
As early as the age of three or four, whenever I notice that the “fruits” need a little, ahem, fine tuning around the house, we stick a branch in a jar and have great fun catching each other being kind, peaceful, gentle and so on.
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Beforehand, I’ve prepared little fruits tied to strings that get hung on the branches when someone has been caught.
There’s never a competition between kids to see who can gather the most fruit, but instead it’s a cooperative effort to see the good in one another, be good to one another and watch our family tree hang heavy with fruits as a result.
When one child needs a little more encouragement (like the four year old recently), the tree will be all about him. In this instance, as often as we were able, we made a big deal about the character traits he was displaying and let him put his fruits on the tree.
At the end of the day, we counted the fruits together. His goal the next day was to see if he could gather even more fruits than the day before.
After about a week, he had begun a pleasant habit which replaced a not-so-pleasant habit and we not longer needed the tree.
It Works for All Ages
Old or young, every time I’ve pulled out the Fruit of the Spirit tree in our home, positive character has resulted. It’s so easy, too!
How to Make a Fruit of the Spirit Tree
- Place a tree-shaped stick in a jar/bucket of beans/rice/rocks.
- Cut out fruit shapes from construction paper, card stock, foam sheets or anything else you like. (The fruit shapes in my photo were from a bag of shapes I found several years ago at a dollar store, but here are some other super-cute ones.)
- Punch a hole at the top of each fruit and loop a ribbon, yarn, or string through it to become a hanger.
How To Use a Fruit of the Spirit Tree
For very young children, I don’t write anything on the fruits. I simply let the child hang any fruit of his choosing and we talk about the appropriate virtue.
For young readers, I assign each type of fruit to one of the Fruits of the Spirit and write that name on the back of the fruits. For example, the apples might represent love, the bananas might represent joy, etc. When a particular virtue is displayed, the kiddo finds the correct fruit to hang on the tree.
For older children, I place a list of the Fruits of the Spirit near the tree along with the blank fruits and a marker so they can create their own as a virtue is “caught”.
That’s it! What are you waiting for? You could have new, wonderful habits started tomorrow!
Extra Learning Fun
These fun extras can reinforce your lessons and help you teach about the Fruits of the Spirit.
The Rest of the Teaching Values Series
More Help with Character Building
You can enjoy a Homeschool Masterclass on this very topic! It includes specific training to help you successfully use creative tactics like this one to set your children up for success in good character.
I know you’ll enjoy these other posts on my website, too!