You ladies have heard me "talk" before about trying to reach the hearts of my children and trying to build their character, not just discipline them. Some days it seems as if there is no hope of progress in the training and it would be easier just to discipline but then there are days when God reveals to me that all the time and effort is very much worth it. Yesterday was one of the days that God allowed a little light to shine down upon my children. My baby girl turned 5 yesterday and my oldest ds made her the sweetest card ever. It said she was the best sister in the world and he loved her. He had also included a picture of her with big muscles and said she was tough (we had talked about this the night before). He gave her another one later in the day that said he loved her and liked playing with her. All three of her brothers gave her a gift on their own, two of them took some of their own toys and wrapped them for her and my middle ds bought her something with his own money. We went to eat at Cracker Barrel for her birthday last night and he had told me he wanted to buy her something while we were there, so he found a cute little horse sticker book for her and gave it to her when we got home. After she had gotten the cards, she decided to make one for all of them. She wrote (with me spelling for her) that she loved her brothers, wrote all of their names (she can do that on her own) and drew a picture of all of them. They really showed loving hearts toward each other yesterday, without any coaxing from me! It just really blessed me and made me so thankful for all that God has blessed me with. I don't take any credit for what I described above, I believe God is working in them and maybe, just maybe He is using me to encourage them and help them along. Praise and glory be to God, not me. I have noticed a difference in their attitudes since I have purposefully been working on their character. I am using tools I purchased from Courtship Connection and they are very reasonable. I highly recommend them and I also look forward to purchasing more things from them in the future. One thing that has worked really well is the "Excellence in Character" chart. This chart is laminated and reuseable, it has a place for all of my children's names and they receive marks each time they are seen exhibiting one of the character traits listed on the chart. For example, if ds8 helps dd5 put away her laundry without me having to ask him too, he gets a mark next to helpfulness. Some of the other traits listed are attentiveness, initiative, kindness, responsibility, sweet spirit and obedience. There are many others as well. I really like the initiative one because it reminds them to look for things that need doing, or if they see something that needs taken care of to just do it, without me having to tell them. I also love the sweet spirit one because that is one they get for doing kind and generous things purely from their hearts and not just to get a tally mark. My daughter gets alot of marks for sweet spirit. The way we are using it is how the author recommended on her cd. After one week, I write all the character traits on individual pieces of paper and draw out one trait. The person that has the most tally marks for that trait whens a prize. To show the others that all of their marks are important too, they get to place a star on a seperate chart (growth in character) for each 5 tally marks they have in a certain trait. This helps them to see how they are improving and they will get prizes for a certain number of stars. Is that as clear as mud? :) It is a reward system but even the Bible promises us rewards in Heaven, so I don't see a reward system as a bad thing. If God can give us rewards, surely I can give them to my children for their efforts as well. One thing I do have to watch for on this is pridefulness, but that is mainly only a concern for one of my children at this time and we are working on it. I just wanted to share this with you and maybe encourage you in your training of your children. If you want more information about the system I described above or anything else I use, please just let me know.