Character Training

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he shall not depart from it.”

When I read the book about the famous Duggar family, the family who now has 19 kids, I felt a call to purposefully teach my children character traits and Biblical principles, like they do. Here is the list the Duggars use.

I decided to start discussing one quality a week from the chart with my children. The list has 46 so that will take us about a year. We are doing the following:

  • reading the definition with them and having them mark it with some kind of symbol. I like the idea here of marking scriptures with kids using simple symbols that you draw right on the page
  • reading the scripture included with the definition
  • and then reading stories aloud to them from the scriptures and the LDS Church children’s magazine, The Friend, that illustrate that principle.
  • reading a picture book that also illustrates the principle, if I can find one.

We do this while they eat breakfast. I like to do it at breakfast because I already have a captive audience! As I find stories for each of the character traits/principles I will post them here.

Honesty (I copied the list with the links below from

  • The stories about Ann-Marie, Jesus Christ, and Danny from the Primary CTR manual here.
  • “Abu Learns Honesty” (March 2012 Liahona and Friend)
    A boy learns what honesty means after taking food without paying for it.
  • “Being Honest” (February 2002 Liahona and Friend)
    A boy from Brazil returns a wallet and finds joy in honesty.
  • “The Candy Ball” (January 2010 Liahona and Friend)
    A young girl takes a piece of candy without asking and learns a valuable lesson.
  • “Friend to Friend” (November 1997 Liahona and October 1996 Friend)
    President Thomas S. Monson shares a story about being honest when he was in the Navy.
  • “Honest Morgan” (March 2007 Liahona and Friend)
    A young boy learns about honesty when he tries to blame a mistake on his younger brother.
  • “Kelsey Makes a Mistake” (July 2012 Liahona and Friend)
    A wordless story about a young girl who tells her mother the truth.
  • “Niya’s Choice” (April 2011 Liahona and Friend)
    A girl returns the extra change given to her by a shopkeeper.

Here are more stories and activities (scroll down to get past the stories I copied above.)

  • and here is a whole month’s worth of stories (including scripture stories and picture books from Heather @ Women in the Scriptures, as part of her Mom’s Missionary Training Center. Wow!
  • LInda and Richard Eyre also have a curriculum to teach honesty with a story about a boy named Alexander on CD or mp3 files, including songs. Find it here.



 This is the list of Friend stories that came up under the search for “sincerity”


Stories tagged with :”virtue” in the Friend are hard to find. But really, every story is about some kind of virtue. You can basically read any story and tie it into the scripture given on the Duggars’ chart, in II Peter 1:5.

Here is a list of articles for youth and adults about virtue, in terms of moral cleanliness, that you can adapt for children younger than 12. 


Boldness means doing what is right, just, and true in the sight of God. This story, copied from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ web site here about Joseph F. Smith perfectly illustrates what boldness is. 

Fifteen-year-old Joseph F. Smith was called on a mission to the Sandwich Islands, now Hawaii. After he arrived he became ill, but he used this time to learn the language so he could talk to the natives. He learned the language in one hundred days. He also learned to love the people and even their food. Some of the other missionaries gave up and went home. Some felt that only the Americans and Europeans, not the natives, should be converted, but Joseph knew that the Lord, through President Brigham Young, had sent him to bring the light of the gospel to these loving, generous people—the natives of the Islands.

Three years later, and still younger than today’s young men who are called to go on missions, he was released to return home. On the return trip, just as on the way to the Islands, it was necessary for the elders to stop and find jobs in the harvest fields or elsewhere to pay for clothes and food and to help them return to Salt Lake City. When they got as far as San Bernardino, Joseph was hired as a teamster to drive a team across the desert to Salt Lake.

At this time there were strong anti-Mormon feelings. Brigham Young and the Mormon people were blamed for the terrible Mountain Meadow Massacre where some non-Mormon immigrants traveling through Utah to California were killed in 1857. Also, the U.S. Army was on its way to Utah because of false charges made by government officials from Utah who were antagonistic toward the Latter-day Saints. “There were many men scattered abroad who had murder in their hearts” who boasted that they would kill any Mormons they found (Smith, Life of Joseph F. Smith, p. 188). Because of this, Church members traveled in little companies for safety.

Joseph F. and his company had stopped to camp one afternoon when a band “of drunken men rode into the camp … , cursing and swearing and threatening to kill any ‘Mormons’ that came within their path. … Some of the brethren when they heard them coming had cautiously gone into the brush down the creek, out of sight. Joseph F. was … gathering wood for the fire. [He walked up to the campfire to deposit his wood. One drunken ruffian with a pistol in his hand said] that it was his duty to [kill] every ‘Mormon’ he should meet. … In a loud, angry voice [he demanded from Joseph], ‘Are you a … Mormon?’ [Joseph ignored the gun aimed at him,] and looking the ruffian in the eye … boldly answered, ‘Yes siree; dyed in the wool, true blue, through and through.’

This Christian web site has some stories about boldness here.

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