Saturday, October 20, 2012

Character Qualities for Devotions

In many of past years of teaching, I've had the responsibility of leading my first hour students in devotions. Most of the time I have seen this as a great worry -- one more thing for me to plan for. Admittedly, this shouldn't be a huge problem, except for the fact that I have not really developed the discipline of personal devotions or Bible study in my own life, and so I don't have much to go from. That struggle is a-whole-'nother post which is probably too personal for me to write about some other day.

Operational Definitions of Character Qualities
This year I found something I have enjoyed very much using for my classroom devotions.  My wife brought home from her M.O.P.S. meeting a handout of Operational Definitions of Character Qualities. I don't know the original source -- a quick search showed them related the Duggars, or from Bill Gothard.

This sheet contains 49 characteristics, an antonym for each, and a definition which helps unpack the meaning behind the word.  Then a bible verse is suggested which places some context to the word. The picture provides just a snippet of four of the words -- including the word Love. The antonym provided for love is "selfishness" which condemns me a lot. Many times instead of showing love to my family, I want to do my own thing. Especially when I first come home from work.

Lately, we've been taking a few minutes to digest a word -- typically by trying to describe it at first, then list several opposites, and ending with reading the passage associated with the word. This has lead to several fruitful discussions with students regarding many related topics. One day we talked about how we need to choose to love some people because it doesn't come naturally at times -- and is that ok? The word of the day was honesty -- and the student felt they were being dishonest perhaps in loving someone when they were angry or frustrated with them. I was able to share that many times, in marriage for instance, we need to start by showing love, and then the feelings follow. Actions drive feelings, as opposed to deriving from them.

Anyway, I thought perhaps others could benefit from this list of words and learn from them too. If you decide to look at them, share any revelations or surprises you find in the comments below!

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