John Collins served as the mayor of Boston from 1960-1968. Today a monument stands in his honor along Boston’s Commonwealth Avenue which reads, “a talented, generous, honest, and serviceable man.”

If we are honest with ourselves, this is what we all want for our kids.  We want our sons and daughters to be talented, generous, honest and serviceable young people who live to make a difference in the world.  We want them to be gracious, respectful, polite, grateful, honest, adventurous….this list could go on forever.

This list of desireable attributes we hope to instill in our kids is endless….so much so that it’s hard to know where to start. Hannah and I sat down a while back to identify the most important character qualities we wanted to teach our kids.  Here is what we came up with.

HARD-WORKING: I find it fascinating how often stories of successful people include a difficult childhood or upbringing. Work ethic, when learned, is an invaluable skill that builds lifelong character into our kids but children today often lack the knowledge, confidence or determination to start a job and see it through to completion. Working side-by-side with your children and giving them age-appropriate responsibilities is the place to start. Put your children in positions to try new things, make mistakes, be challenged and build confidence. KEYWORDS: finish the job, be tough, don’t give up.

HUMILITY: A humble attitude stems for a proper understanding of authority. We teach our kids about God’s greatness from an early age in an effort to convey to them His power and their rightful place in the created order. Proper respect for authority is essential for every child learning to place themselves under God’s leadership when they grow older and this starts with the parent-child relationship.  We cannot expect our kids to listen to the God of the universe if they won’t obey at home.  Expect obedience and respect from your kids and discipline consistently when they act otherwise. KEYWORDS: Listen and obey, you’re not in charge, please, thank you, yes ma’am, no sir.

HONESTY: There are three things we give spankings for in our home…disrespect, disobedience and dishonesty. We want our kids to know the importance of telling the truth and keeping their word. The Bible says that a person’s reputation is one of the most valuable assets we possess and this starts by telling the truth.  KEYWORDS: tell the truth, don’t lie, keep your word

OPEN-HANDED: Generosity flows out of a heart that understands  mercy and grace.  We teach that God is the giver or all things and that our possessions are not our own.  We talk about privilege a lot and try to help out kids give away more than they receive. We practice giving our time, our talents and our things.  Kids who develop a grateful heart will be more inclined to give their life away. KEYWORDS: privilege, be thankful, be grateful

HAVE FUN: We want our kids to take risks, consider the consequences and make mistakes. A child who isn’t afraid of failure will develop confidence that will last a lifetime. We believe that the home should be a safe place to try new things without feeling the pressure to succeed or the fear of failure. KEYWORDS: Go for it, you can do it, I believe in you, I love you