Developing a Habit of Keeping Your Word

HABIT-KEEPING-WORDKeeping Your Word; meaning what you say and doing what you say you’re doing. {Like all those times I tell the boys I AM listening to their lengthy stories when really I am mentally running through the grocery list … these habits always have an application for myself!!}

I think this is such an important habit to establish -to be a trustworthy and dependable person you must be known as a person that keeps their word.

Questions to personally consider:

  1. What value do you place on the words you speak? Do you tend to follow through on what you say, or are you full of good intentions?
  2. Consider an example in your personal life that embodies the habit of keeping their word – how do you feel about that person?
  3. Consider an example in your personal life that embodies the habit of not keeping their word – how do you feel about that person?

Intentionally nurturing good habits in our children takes time and effort. I passionately believe this is so worthwhile! Equally so – it should not be a heavy weight and another thing on the “to-do” list. Good habits are best lived out, and while we will always be learning along side our own children, our extra years on earth lend some experiences and lessons we can share with our children. While I have mapped out activities to do each day of the month that will direct our attention towards the subject of keeping our word, please do fill it in with your own experiences to share of yourself with your children.
The following activities are meant to be simple, short and repetitive. I don’t imagine them taking more than five minutes a day. My hope is that through simplicity, faithfulness and focus the habit of keeping their word will be deeply rooted in their foundation.

intentionally nurturing good habits in our children

1. Discuss what our habit is {Keeping Your Word} and what it means. Make sure the kids have an understanding of what the habit is.
2. Play Mother May I
3. Tell the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf {who abused his reputation by not telling the truth}
4. Role play situations to demonstrate how being a person that keeps your word makes people trust you; being on time, completing things, doing what you say you’ll do. Talk about the long term effects of what you say can have.
5. Make a plan to do something kind for someone and then go do it!
6. Read about Sampson and the Nazarite vow and how Sampson did not keep it and the results of that and how despite his unfaithfulness through his life how he finished well.
7. Object lesson on making promises with application of how God keeps His. See object lesson here.
8. Ask the children if they see us as parents that keep their word to them? How about when we interact with other people? {It will be humbling to hear where our kids think we need work!!}
9. Play GO FISH to reinforce the idea of keeping your word {a simple card game that requires you to be honest about the cards in your hand}.
10. Read the An Honest Kid story and talk about how the boy became trusted because he was honest.
11. Role play situations to demonstrate how being a person that doesn’t keep your word makes people not trust you; being late, incomplete projects, not doing what you say you’ll do. Talk about the long term effects of what you say can have.
12. In the morning each person pick one way to help another person in the family out throughout the day. Practice Keeping Your Word by doing the thing you committed to that morning.
13. Read Acts 5:1-11 about Ananias and Sapphira and how they did not keep their word
14. Play I-Spy, which requires you to be honest about what you are thinking about.
15. Talk about examples where we, or book or movie characters, have been hurt by someone else not keeping their word.
16. Before a meal either designate or let each person choose a word that they won’t say during dinner. Have each person agree to not say their word (make sure it’s a commonly used word!) If they do mess up and say their word they can either be out (if they are older/more competitive) or get a wooden clothes pin stuck on them. Just a silly, fun way to draw awareness to our speech.
17. Tell the story of The Emperors New Clothes and ask if they think the king hired those tailors ever again!
18. Draw attention to how this plays out in their personal lives. Talk about ways in which we don’t keep our word and how it effects things {when they were younger, a big one in our house was saying they went to the bathroom/don’t need to go prior to an outing and 5 minutes into the outing they are NEEDING a bathroom.}
19. Make a plan to do something kind for someone and then go do it!
20. Read Matthew 21:28-32; the parable of the two sons – one who said he would not work but then did and the other who said he would work but did not.
21. To illustrate how God keeps His word {and how we as parents strive to, though fail!!} I will adjust this object lesson for our boys. It’s a pretty excellent picture of how we can trust God.
22. Use a spray can of some type of food, or toothpaste in a tube. Let the kids spray all the food out of the can and, once it is empty, ask them to put all of the food back into the can. Use this to illustrate how when we say things we can’t take them back – so we need to be very careful to be sincere and mean what we say.
23. repeat #16 (kids love it!)
24. Tell them the story of Ping and The Empty Pot
25. Draw attention to how this plays out in their personal lives. Talk about ways in which they do keep their word and how it effects things. {Makes me trust them/give them more privileges, etc.}
26. Make a plan to do something kind for someone and then go do it!
27. Read Matthew 5:33-37 about letting your yes be yes and your no be no.
28. Have the boys come up with a list of ways that they have kept their word/can imagine themselves keeping their word. Write each of these on a piece of paper and tape it to a wooden block. Build these blocks into a strong, tall tower. Then ask for examples of how they have/can imagine themselves not being true to their word. Tape these to balls and roll the balls at the tower {which will start to fall/become weaker.} Talk about how even just being untruthful one time will start chipping away at your character and what you’ve worked on building.
29. Plan something fun to do with/for the boys and do it for them!
30. Play Doggy, Doggy, Whose Got Your Bone, which requires you to be truthful about whether you are hiding the bone or not.
31. Read Caps for Sale – a silly story about a peddler who takes a nap and his hats are stolen by a group of monkeys. While he is demanding they return his caps they copy his motions rather than his words and he cleverly figures out how to use this to get them to return his caps. A fun ending to our focus on keeping your word to illustrate how our actions might communicate something different than our words and send conflicting messages to people.

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