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One of the best methods of character building in children is through stories

Explore with me some of the classic books and child stories that are best for character building in your family.

I’ve written another article about Christian books. Now I want to focus on older books that are not specifically Christian. Most of these are written with a Judeo-Christian world view, and I believe that they contribute to the character development of our families.

You may choose to read many of these character building books aloud to your children. William Kilpatrick, in Books That Build Character, says, “Reading aloud may be one of the most important contributions parents can make toward developing good character in their children.”


Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.
Emilie Buchwald


Emotional Attachment

He goes on to explain his reasons. Stories, good stories, make an emotional attachment to goodness. This underscores the need for good stories. What kind of emotional attachment are children making who watch I don’t know how many murders and violent acts on television each year?

One of the best methods of character building in children is through stories

It is our responsibility to choose what enters their minds wisely and well.

Example

Stories provide examples of right, and righteous, conduct. I can’t count the times, even as I’ve grown older, that I’ve made a decision based on what a character in a book I read did.

Most recently Arena, by Karen Hancock, a science fiction allegory, has given me examples of choosing to set aside the distracting voices of fear and doubt, and focus on God.

Code of Conduct

Stories help children become familiar with the code of conduct expected of them, both as children and as they grow up. What they don’t know, you can’t be expected to follow. With wise choice, the code presented to them in story will be the one that you plan them to internalize, consistent with God’s word.


Be as careful of the books you read, as of the company you keep,
for your habits and character will be as much
influenced by the former as the latter.
Paxton Hood


Meaning

Stories help us to find meaning in our own lives. They help us see how our personal story fits into the greater picture of God’s plan for the world. When children are read to, and read, they learn how even the horrors happen for a purpose. Neither blessings nor curses last forever.

I’ve suffered from depression at several points in my life. I believe it has been chiefly what I gathered from character bulding stories that prevented me from ever becoming suicidal.

Reading taught me that no matter what happened to me, things would be better. That each event had a purpose. I could step outside myself and see the bigger picture because I had learned early to frame my life as a story.


The failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision
and strengthens our most fatal tendency–
the belief that the here and now is all there is.
Allan Bloom


So read to your children and teach them to choose character building books. When moral decisions come and emotions are running high, God will use these stories to show them the path of righteousness.