Teaching Kids Character

I love writing curriculum, and I especially love a writing challenge!

The latest unit of DiscipleTown is called “How to Build Character“.  It includes the following lesson breakdown:

  1. My True Character
  2. My Inner Character
  3. My Outer Character
  4. My Reputation

For those of you who write – let me give you a glimpse into what happens behind the scenes of writing DiscipleTown.

When I write these units, I am given a collection of raw material from Mark Steiner, the creator and author of the DiscipleLand Core Bible Curriculum, since I am creating a children’s church curriculum based on the 24 Disciple Skills that are part of the overall Disciple Making Strategy created by Mark.

As part of the Level Three, Second Quarter Curriculum, Mark provided a collection of character traits for the teacher to cover as part of the Disciple Skill of Building Character.  They were:

Positive Character Qualities Negative Character Qualities
Honest, truthful, fair dishonest, false, corrupt
Caring, compassionate, merciful unconcerned, insensitive, judgmental
Loyal, devoted, steadfast unfaithful, disloyal, uncommitted
Respectful, courteous, polite rude, impolite, disrespectful
Diligent, hard-working, determined lazy, procrastinating, undisciplined
Courageous, bold, brave fearful, timid, cowardly
Holy, pure, set apart impure, polluted, tainted
Trustworthy, responsible, dependable unreliable, irresponsible, undependable
Cooperative, teachable, helpful disruptive, unruly, troublesome
Humble, servant-hearted, unselfish proud, selfish, arrogant
Generous, gracious, giving stingy, miserly, tight-fisted
Peaceful troubled/agitated/worried

All 12 came with matching scripture. (I love the biblical depth of DiscipleLand)


Match these 12 traits to the 4 lessons, 3 each! They needed to match, and not be contrived, if possible.  It took some work, but I was pretty excited with the way it worked out. They fit quite naturally!

TRUE (When No One Is Looking)
BE HOLY (impure) Deuteronomy 7:6

BE DILIGENT  (lazy) 2 Timothy 2:15

BE COURAGEOUS (fearful) 2 Timothy 1:7

OUTER (Toward Others)
BE COOPERATIVE (disruptive) Philippians 1:27

BE GENEROUS (stingy) Proverbs 19:17

BE CARING (unconcerned) Ephesians 4:32

INNER (Ones No One Can See)
BE HUMBLE (proud) Philippians 2:3-4

BE HONEST: (dishonest) Psalm 15:1-3

BE PEACEFUL (worried) John 14:27; John 16:33

BE TRUSTWORTHY (unreliable) Exodus 18:21

BE RESPECTFUL (rude) 1 Peter 2:17

BE LOYAL (unfaithful) Proverbs 17:17


How do I visually communicate these traits in a way that would be FUN and ENTERTAINING, yet really illustrate to kids the differences among TRUE character (who you are when no one is looking), INNER character (those traits no one sees), OUTER character (those traits that impact others), and your REPUTATION (those traits that impact how others view you?)

I ended up deciding I needed to break the mold from my usual Object Talks, and do something entirely NEW!

Here is the first of FOUR YouTube-style videos of a puppet named Luke, video blogging about his week and the lessons he is learning about character. Each explores character very uniquely and covers TRUE, INNER, OUTER and REPUTATION.


Here is the official description of How to Build Character:

Children grow up being told what to do and what not to do, learning behaviors that keep them out of trouble and earn them rewards. In this short-sighted approach, their walk with Christ becomes limited to seeking to please the adults in their lives. Remove those adults, and the kids’ pursuit of Jesus evaporates as well. Teach children to build solid Christian character, however, and you have disciples who can live victoriously, independent of adult supervision yet dependent on God. Isn’t that our ultimate goal? This unit trains children to evaluate and take ownership of their spiritual growth, following the model of Jesus’ growth in the short but powerful verse, Luke 2:52. In this verse we discover a comprehensive formula for Christian character in young people—wisdom, character, integrity, and reputation. Children can intentionally develop in these same areas, if we are willing to guide them!


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  1. Hey Karl;

    I don’t know if you noticed you said, “2 Corinthians” when I think you meant “2 Chronicles”.

    Otherwise cool clip! Love that puppet.

  2. Thanks Angel! As I told you via e-mail – you earned a FREE copy of How to Build Character by catching what everyone else missed, thanks for letting me know! I dubbed in a fix to the product video, and it sounds perfect! But I can’t fix the YouTube video without removing it and breaking all kinds of links, so my humanness will stay on display forever! You’ve got good ears, and obviously a great knowledge of Scripture too! Thanks again for taking the time to let me know.

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