Thank you for continuing to join me as we reshape our family, its values, and celebrate with us as we move forward to fulfill our family mission. 

Today I’m sharing with you our morning routine — our morning routine with character. 

If we are going to raise our children in a just and moral way, Brian and I need to help them understand that character is crucial

Just like it’s easier to go along with the norm in behavior, it’s easy to pick up the character flaws that run amok in society today. We talked on Monday about living in an “entitlement” society. 

When someone feels they should get something just because they want it, they feel entitled. The problem is, life doesn’t work that way, yet children today are being raised to believe it does. I can’t tell you how many kids I’ve met who don’t do regular chores at home. Who expect to get the newest $150 Lego set because they saw it and liked it. Who think you’re crazy for even suggesting that they earn the money to purchase it.

And friends and family don’t always help. There was a time when parents knew best. Their rules and wishes were respected by others because they were the parents. Now, we have aunts and uncles slipping candy to our over-hyped kiddos right after a grandparent or friend gives them the expensive {and inappropriate} video game you already told your little ones they couldn’t have. 

After all… nobody wants your kids to feel left out, right?

Wrong.

I do want my kids left out. 

  • I want them left out of the belief that they deserve whatever they want simply because they were born. 
  • I want my kids left out of the race to get the latest and greatest time-sucking video game because everybody else has it. 
  • I want my kids left out of the childhood obesity epidemic because they want to eat the high-sugar and artificially-flavored and colored things that dance their way across my television screen. 

When it comes to these {and other} examples, a little deprivation can be a good thing. 

Again, it’s possible to raise kids today who don’t want these things. It’s tough–but possible–to breathe contentment into their lives with a bit of prayer and focus

So we reinvented our mornings.

Remember this part of our Family Mission Statement

We are diligenthonesthelpfulkindperseverantselfcontrolledgentlepatientcontentobedientattentive, and forgiving. 

These virtues are taken straight from the We Choose Virtues program that we love. 


While we read through all of the virtues each day, we focus on one per week. I post the card related to our current virtue and we spend time “catching” each other in the act of that virtue. {Note: It is very motivating to a child that struggles with, say, self-control, to get caught exhibiting that very thing by and parent or sibling. All of our kids love this part.}

Each morning we:

  • Do our individual morning chores, showing up at the breakfast table clean, groomed, and ready.
  • Pray together over our meal.
  • Read through our Family Mission Statement and virtue list.
  • Revisit the virtue of the week.
  • Talk about and pray over our day.
  • I work on the breakfast dishes {and have another cup of coffee} while the kids finish clearing and wiping the table, then play together for a half hour.
  • After 30 minutes {give or take–I need to make sure the coffee has kicked in}, the kids gather back at the table for hot chocolate and Grapevine Bible Studies
Once we are through with this routine we are ready to start our day. For all the homeschool moms out there who struggle to find time to fit everything in, let me be honest here for a minute. Sometimes, this is all we can fit in. I’m polishing this post on the night after our first co-op meeting of the year. We struggled to fit this in before leaving today, and got home too exhausted to do anything but throw together sandwiches for dinner and play with the neighbors. 

But, think about how our day would have gone if we’d started by rushing through math instead of Bible and character studies…

Trevor, who got off task, would have probably had a much tougher time pulling himself together enough to finish and play a game of chess with his friend. Molly may have been surly {as she sometimes is when we tackle math} instead of smiling and eager to see her little friend {who is in every one of her three classes}. 

It’s all in how you choose to start your day. I know, without a doubt, the days we skip through this routine go wrong…sometimes very wrong. I also know that some of my friends and loyal readers are shaking their heads and saying to themselves, “You homeschool. I could never do that; I have a hard enough time getting my kids dressed, fed, and out to the bus stop on time. Forget about Bible study!” 

I know… remember, friends, I’ve been there. I taught for 10 years and know all about the morning rush. I kissed my own son, pushing him out the door to the bus for a year and a half, exhausted by the time the doors closed. But I still found time to pray with him in the morning. It makes a difference.

If your mornings are harried, do Bible study and character development around the dinner table or when you snuggle up to read a book at bedtime. But, in the morning, take a minute to focus on character and Jesus. Trevor and I called these “doorway prayers.”

On the way out to the bus, we’d stop in the doorway and put a hand on one side of the door, and hold our other hands together. I’d tell him one character trait {virtue} I’d like him to think about throughout the day and we’d pray. I’d say a small prayer for him aloud, then he’d say one for me. We both parted only after praying for one another. 

While we don’t have all the answers, we are certainly finding our way toward building a strong family as we follow these steps. By creating a Family Mission Statement, having regular chores, following an easy method of disciplining our actions, and by beginning each day with the Lord and a focus on Godly character and virtues, we are working together, in unity, to build a strong family. 

And that should be celebrated.

Join us tomorrow as we wrap up this week with a focus on the consequences for positive behavior. When kids work hard, and hearts are changing, celebrations are called for. And we love to celebrate! 

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Have a great Thursday,

Colleen Kessler

Colleen is an explorer, tinkerer, educator, writer, creator, and a passionate advocate for the needs of gifted and twice-exceptional children. She has a B.S. in elementary education, a M.Ed. in gifted studies, is a sought-after national speaker and educational consultant, and is the founder of the popular blog and podcast Raising Lifelong Learners, as well as Raising Poppies, a community of support for parents of gifted children. She lives in northeast Ohio with her four bright and quirky kiddos, patient husband, and ever-changing collection of small reptiles, mammals, and insects.

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