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(This post is specific to kids…but the same concept can be applied to workplace leadership)

I want my kids to earn, save and give a ton of money over their lives.

But, I don’t want them to steal.

I want my kids to get good grades.

But, I don’t want them to cheat.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

I want my kids to have success in extra circular activities such as sports.

But, I don’t want them to take performance enhancing drugs.

I want my kids to deal with conflict with others.

But, I don’t want them to slander, harm or kill anyone…obviously.

I want my kids to want and work to get what God wants for them.

But, I don’t want them to covet.

I want my kids to develop a strong character.

But, I don’t want them to struggle because I set them up for failure unintentionally.

I define character for my children as; the decisions they make when their mom and I aren’t around. (sure, you can tweet that)


To develop your kid’s character, parent decisions over outcomes.


This works because, what gets rewarded gets repeated.  What get’s repeated gets remembered



• Studying should have more focus and celebration than the report card.
• How they behave at their birthday party should be talked about the next night at dinner, more than the gifts.
• The fact they played with their sibling should get more attention then what they did…or even the fight that eventually ended the peaceful time of play.
• The fact they went to Sunday School should be celebrated over what they learned.  Develop the habit first, then worry about the learning.
• Highlight one behavior a week with a note in their lunch box.
• Let your kid “overhear” you bragging about their decisions.  NOT THE OUTCOME.  Tell someone how much your kid practiced their swing over telling them about the amazing job they did in the baseball game.
• If you’ve never heard of them, check into VeggieTales.
• Don’t completely ignore outcomes…celebrating a win is fun.  But, you should highlight decisions over outcomes…or at least highlight them equally.
• Do discipline bad outcomes…but connect the broken lamp to their decision to disobey the rules about playing ball in the house.
?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have?


• Think about one thing your kid did in the last three days that showed a character trait you want them to always have.  Write them a note right now letting them know you saw it, loved it and love them.
• Send yourself an email using to remind yourself to do this again in the future.
• Share this post with your spouse, the grandparents and anyone else important in your child’s life. Invite them to partner with you to help your kids repeat positive character traits.


What variations or alterations would you suggest?


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