Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Review: We Choose Virtues

2 Peter 1:5  "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;"

What is virtue?  " a particular moral excellence; goodness; righteousness; conformit of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness"

Why is virtue important? Virtue, basically, the way we act, is important because we want to live a life that is pleasing to our God and builds good relationships with those around us.  It is not enough to say, in words only, that we are a Christian. It is also important to show it by the way we live. God tells us in 2 Peter 1:5 that we are to be diligent about adding virtues to our life. First comes our faith and relationship with God, and then comes virtue, or the way we live. 

Since God places such an emphasis on living virtuously (another favorite example of mine is the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31), I also think it is important to emphasize virtues as I am training my children. I recently had the privilege to review the Parenting Cards and the WCV Download Bundle from We Choose Virtues. Our family was greatly blessed with these items and I would like to tell you a little more about them.

Parents know that they should teach Godly character and virtue to their children. Teachers spend precious classroom time reinforcing those virtues at school. Often it is a struggle to find good tools that children can relate to when teaching character and propriety. Even more difficult to find is tools that teach the Biblical principles behind the virtues.

The We Choose Virtues program endeavors to equip parents and teachers with a simple and relevant 12 week process of instilling Christian character in their young people. Following the plan given in the teacher handbook, a parent can teach one virtue each week, spending a few minutes everyday reinforcing the concept and meaning of that particular character trait. 

What makes up this program? While We Choose Virtues has an entire home school collection of products that a parent can utilize, for this review I am going to focus on the parenting cards (8.5" x 5.5" double sided cards) and WCV download bundle. 

What does a typical week of character study look like? Time spent on WCV starts out with introducing that week's virtue, explaining what it means, introducing the child character associated with that virtue (each card has a different character), and discussing how your children can implement that virtue in their everyday lives. The teacher handbook has some great ideas for little object lessons, stories, games, and verses that help reinforce your training. 

On subsequent days, parents will review what the virtue is and what it means, and also utilize extra items such as the coloring pages or songs.  A reward chart is also available, which uses a butterfly to show children that they can change their behavior into something that is beautiful and pleasing to the Lord. The company also produces lovely posters to hang up that remind children of the virtues. Each day, a few minutes can be spent doing something just a little different to train the virtue. Parents also can look for behavior examples throughout the day to compliment children when they are practicing their virtue, or remind them when they are not. 

This is the first virtue we chose to spend time applied to every family member, even Mom!

The front of the card for "Self Controlled, showing "Stop Sign Madeline" and a Bible memory verse.

The back of the 'Self-Controlled' card, giving some parent tips for using the card for teachable moments..

 The children enjoyed the coloring pages and the different characters:

Several things I really appreciated: I thought it was very helpful to have the "I'm sorry" box on the back of each card. Though children may try really hard to practice their virtues, often they forget or fall short, because they are immature and just learning. I thought it was a wonderful idea to prepare them ahead of time that there will be moments when they will fail to hit the mark, and how to handle that. The more proactive training you can do in a child's life, the better equipped they will be to handle the ups and downs of their day. Allowing the children the grace to know that I didn't expect them to be perfect, and then showing them how to handle their shortcomings really made a big difference in using this program. It took all the pressure off, and just allowed them to be kids who were striving to learn and grow. Many times they were quick to say they were sorry and catch themselves when their behavior did not measure up to the virtue of the week. It was just on their thoughts a whole lot more. I loved not having to do so much correction, and enjoyed seeing the maturity they were building by being able to 'fix' their own attitudes without me saying a word many times.

Another thing that I really loved about these cards is that the company offers a choice of Bible versions. Not many companies will make the extra effort to accommodate families who would like to have King James Bible verses. This company takes it a step further by offering their King James version cards with only Old Testament verses, so they would be appropriate for Jewish families who would desire that option. I really thought that was wonderful. 

How We Used This Program: We started out with the Character Assessment. I printed a copy for each child, and then we sat down together and filled them out. Each child filled out their own, and they found it challenging to think about themselves and how they act. For the most part, they all were pretty accurate in admitting their strengths and weaknesses. When they were done, we talked openly about the results, then chose what order to study the virtues in, based on those results. The children enjoyed having this much input in the study. We then went over the virtue throughout the week, and hung the card right on the fridge where everyone could be regularly reminded of it. As you can see from my picture above, the girls enjoyed coloring the virtue pages. Having the virtue in front of them made it very easy to remind them when they needed it, and encourage them along. Focusing on it made a huge improvement in overall behavior and harmony in the home. I was one very pleased Mom!

What Is An Appropriate Age for These Parenting Cards?  The company suggests ages 3-18. They also make a suggestion to allow older teen aged children to teach the virtue cards to their younger siblings. While we used the Parenting Cards with three of the children, age 9-16, I would say that Kelly, my 9 year old, seemed to thrive on these the most. What I like is that the concepts and illustrations are concrete, not abstract, so younger children can easily identify with them. An example would be the stop sign reminder from the self-controlled card. Even the very youngest children can understand the concept of a stop sign and letting it remind them to stop their behavior before they do something wrong. 

How Much Does It Cost? The Parenting Cards are currently selling for $38.49 and the WCV download bundle is currently selling for $7.99. We Choose Virtues has also made available a very generous 50% off discount on their lovely, colorful set of 12 11"x17" virtue posters when you use the Promo Code: BIG50. This code is valid until the end of June. From June through August, you can also receive 20% off any order from the WCV store when you use the Promo Code: BTS20. (Only one code may be used per purchase).

My Final Thoughts: I really love this program. I think it is SO necessary, and it promotes Godly character training in a really fun way. I plan on purchasing at least the set of posters, if not a few other goodies to go along with our Parenting Cards, especially since Kelly loves this program so much. My mind races with the possibilities of using this program in our church's inner city ministry. I think it would be very well received by the children there. There is also a Youth Journal available for older children to study through the virtues. While we did not review that, other members of the Crew did, and I look forward to reading their thoughts about it! 

You can read about how other Crew members used this program by clicking the banner below. You can also check out We Choose Virtues on a few social media outlets:

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  1. sounds like a very neat program. I think I may look into it with my boy. Do you think that even with his dislike of colouring that it would be a fit?

    Annette @ A Net In Time.

    1. Hi Annette - yes I do believe it would be a good fit, even without the coloring. It's not necessary. There are a variation of ideas given to reinforce the lessons, including games and songs. Not all the review activities are hands on. We mostly utilized a few minutes of discussion daily, but added in some of the activities, including the coloring, for reinforcement.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!