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Honorable Character Home System

Bethesda, Inc.
www.honorablecharacter.com
4700 N. Beach St.
Fort Worth TX 76137
817-479-0901


When I received the Honorable Character Home System to try out with my children, I thought there was something missing. It's just an 8 1/2 by 11-inch pad of 55 tear-off sheets. The top half of each page lists fourteen character traits: honor, obedience, diligence, wisdom, kindness, self-control, orderliness, service, attentiveness, cooperation, initiative, honesty, forgiveness, and responsibility. The bottom half has a list of fourteen typical household chores ranging from "straighten room" to "mow yard." Each character trait or chore has a point value, and on the right there is a week grid to track when your child demonstrates a trait or accomplishes a task. All you do is post the chart and keep track of what your child does for the week, total the points, and reward him or her accordingly. The product also comes with a tall, narrow 5 by 15-inch poster chart that lists the fourteen character traits.

Well, let me tell you how it worked in our home. We have three children, so I needed to have a separate sheet for each one-there just isn't enough room on one chart to track more than one child's actions, even if you use different colors of ink. This was a little complicated since I kept them on a clipboard for portability and had to keep flipping. I couldn't imagine monitoring a larger family unless the children did at least some of the marking. At that point, I realized I should have delegated that task to the children more.

With that thought in mind, we tried a different approach the next week. Honorable Character: Take 2! Okay. This time I taped the three charts on the pantry door and made the kids accountable for their points. Whenever they exhibited desirable behavior in a noteworthy manner or completed a chore, I would tell them they had earned a point and could mark it on their chart. And if we were out and about, they would be responsible for taking care of that point when we got back home. This shifted the burden of record-keeping to the children.

While the chores are easy to understand, the parent may need to explain some of the character traits to young children. My girls and I had a valuable discussion about the meaning of diligence, attentiveness, and initiative. As they were aiming for good marks, we all were more aware of good behavior and how to classify it. The system helped me focus more on positive behavior, which is a good thing. And I really liked the empty spaces that enable the user to personalize the chart with additional character traits or jobs around the house.

I had a problem with rewarding my children for obedience and other desirable behavior. My husband and I expect obedience because the Lord requires it in His word. I want my children to obey and behave well because God says to-not because they will receive a reward from me for it. Rewarding them with money also translated into paying them for their good behavior, which is distasteful to me. But there are other ways to reward them. According to some accompanying literature I received with the Honorable Character Home System, one mom who used the system had her sons earn a trip to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.

The Honorable Character materials were originally used in Bethesda Christian School, where it is still used with much success for all their students through fifth grade. They now sell the system to schools and parents.



Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, April 2007


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