The Virtue Blog

The Three Rules: Part 2

Ephesians 6:1
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 
“Honor your father and mother”
-which is the first commandment with a promise- 
“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Rule 1: OBEY (The one-word rule.)
Rule 2: BE KIND (The two-word rule.)
Rule 3: BE A HELPER (The three-word rule.)

Our Three Rules are listed in order of priority. For example,  If Sam is helping wipe the table, but he's pushing his little brother's cars onto the floor in the process, he needs to be reminded that "BE KIND" comes before "BE A HELPER". And if Suzi is taking time to help her little sister get a drink, brush her teeth, read a bedtime story, and find her blanket when you asked her to get in bed, she needs to know that "OBEY" is the first rule. 


 There is always a place for kindness and helpfulness, right after obedience! 


Teaching Tip:

Teach your kids to WATCH YOU for a signal to know what rule they need to use no matter where they are! 

For example, I can see from across the room that Brian needs to be kind, so I graciously get his attention and hold up two fingers. He sees that I want him to use the two-word rule. He stops pulling his cousin's hair and we smile at each other. If I need to bring more discipline later, I certainly can, but having this quiet way to communicate with my kids really helps guide them better than just giving them "the look"!  

Practice this skill ahead of time. come up with some scenarios where it might be helpful and see how quickly they catch on. It is a enjoyable and very effective way to train our kids!

Psalm 32:8-9
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.


Teaching Activity: 

This is a fun project to show your kids how the whole long list of instructions in your home or classroom can be found in the Three Rules. It is a very effective way to help kids internalize the virtues you are trying to teach. You are actually integrating them into real life!  
  1. For younger kids, cut pictures out of magazines, print out pictures from on-line images, or draw pictures that represent your various instructions. For older kids, just write the instructions in short phrases.
  2. Write the Three Rules on individual pieces of paper and have the kids help you decide which rule  the instructions should go under.
  3. Then, when you see someone not following a family or classroom instruction, you can simply reinforce the rule above it. It saves a lot of time and makes behavior management very simple. It might look something like this:

Walk in the classroom
Quiet voices in the book corner
Come when you are called
Wear a helmet on your bike

Be Kind
Share the swing
Hold the door
Wait your turn
Use nice words

Be a Helper
Push in your chair
Wipe up your spills
Sort the game pieces
Hang up your coat

  • Shannon says...

    Thank you so much for helping us apply these principles to our family! Please keep them coming.

    On September 11, 2014

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