Thanks for wanting to learn more about Character Builds Joy (CB&J)! I hope you are encouraged as we explore creative ways to intentionally shape our children’s hearts to be more like Jesus! Reading Bible stories before bedtime is one of my favorite things to do with my boys, but there are SO many other precious opportunities throughout the day that can be used to point them towards the Father!
Satan is cunning and deceptive and actively working against us. Raising our kids for Christ in the world today looks much different than it did for our parents.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
Isn’t this what we want for our babies? To know God’s perfect will for their individual lives and isn’t that what we want for ourselves as well?
God has shown me over and over again that the more I THINK CB&J is for my kids….the more I find that it’s for teaching me as well. When I focus on teaching contentment, but complain about the ways I wish our house looked different, Banks (3 yrs old) gently uses MY own words to remind me, “But I can be content with the kitchen we have, right Mama?” Or when we are talking about forgiveness yet the boys notice that I am having a hard time forgiving my husband, they remind me to forgive because Jesus continually forgives us.
Or when I scream at one of the slow-poke drivers in Nashville traffic, it triggers my boys to remind me about the importance of self-control—that “everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and SLOW to become angry.”
True confession: I feel inadequate! How can I teach my boys the qualities of Jesus when I have so much room to grow in them myself? BUT I hear the precious words,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9.
If I can do this, anyone can! Moms, dads, grandparents, caregivers: join us, as we take quality time with our children to a whole new level! So, what does this actually look like? What if teaching doesn’t come naturally to you? And what if you feel as though you barely have the bandwidth to read a bedtime story, much less a Bible story?! I COMPLETELY understand.
Each month we study an aspect of Jesus’ character and learn (through the eyes of a child) that He was courageous, forgiving, compassionate, gracious, generous, loving, obedient, just to name a few! These traits provide themes each month. We call them our WOW words. The verses we memorize, Bible stories we read, art we create, games we play, and books we read all are tied to the WOW word for the month! More than anything, learning about Jesus is life-giving, and pure FUN!!
With four boys ages six and under, I don’t always have the energy to play daily rounds of good guys/bad guys, Ninja’s, Secret Spies, Pokemon, or Superheroes while keeping up with laundry, cooking three meals a day, and going on date nights with my husband. I truly get excited, however, when creating an obstacle course with my boys and completing it with rocks in our backpacks that represent what it’s like when we don’t forgive others, or when we invite friends over to have a “Lost Sheep Celebration” and talk about how much God loves every single person and that He rejoices greatly when they come home!
C.S. Lewis is one of my all-time favorite authors and he says it perfectly,
“Children aren’t distractions from more important work, they are the most important work.”
I would love your family to join mine as we intentionally and creatively teach the next generation how to have character like Jesus, to love Him with all of our heart, mind and strength, AND love our neighbor as ourselves. If learning can be fun then learning about Jesus, the Savior of the world, can be amazing!!
Before staying at home to raise her boys Erin Walker was a speech-language pathologist (SLP) in the public school system and the private sector. As an SLP, her passions include literacy, social language, and the role of pretend play in early childhood development. As a follower of Jesus, she is passionate about nurturing the hearts and souls of children to LOVE God and others more deeply. Smash these two loves together and CB&J was created!
I am a believer! A children’s bible class teacher, a Vacation Bible School organizer, a Ladies Bible Class teacher and speaker, and a devoted encourager with my positive postcards!
As an elementary school counselor, I was acutely aware of the social and emotional needs of children and recognized the value of character-building lessons. I was passionate about creating activities to help children be the person God designed them to be!
Joyfully, I was blessed with grandchildren and after 40 years in the field of education, my retirement plans included spending more time with each of them! No book clubs! No travel plans! And nothing related to education! Until. . . my daughter asked if I could recommend some books about compassion. She was intent on preparing her boys for school, but A, B, C’s and 1, 2, 3’s were not her focus. Her deepest desire was to equip her boys with a heart like Jesus!
Once an educator, always an educator! I quickly put together a list of books, and then thought, what a great “gift” to check these books out from the library! As the boys read the books and nominated one as their favorite, my daughter and I quickly realized we needed activities to encourage the boys to truly understand the character traits of Jesus.
My dad once told me that God uses each stage in our lives to prepare us for the next one. All my years in education working with the most incredible people had led me to this place and the creation of CB&J!
I am so excited to begin this new adventure and hope you will join me in opening God’s word and plan to intentionally play, read, think, and create with your children to develop a heart like Jesus!