How do children learn to build character?

Our children learn valuable lessons each and every day from the world around them. They learn from us, as parents, from family, from friends, teachers, and from the experiences they live.  Knowing that these lessons present themselves in many ways, the Douvris Martial Arts Striving For Excellence program focuses not only on the physical attributes of karate and fitness, but also the importance of character development for each student.

Each month during the program, a new character word is highlighted and students work towards achieving a new competency and understanding for that theme by the end of the month; in class and outside of class. Here are three examples of character words that are focused on and why they are so important:


Giving back to others, in our home, school and community, is a priority. Being of service, being helpful, and being happy to give doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and that’s okay, but together, we can all learn to offer a little more of ourselves to those who need help.  How do we encourage this of our children? By asking them ways they see daily opportunities to help someone else. Maybe it’s their sibling or fellow student, but being able to recognize the opportunity, and following through, is part of the lesson.


When activities in our life get hard, we may feel the easiest thing to do is quit. But perseverance is being able to set our goals, believe that we can accomplish those goals, and not giving up on them, even when it seems difficult to push through. If our children choose goals that are special and important to them, then they will want to work hard to obtain them. Believing in ones self is a big part of perseverance.  We can help encourage our kids to try hard, even when difficulties arise. Sometimes, talking about what their original goal was may help them to see why they started working on it in the first place.


At Douvris, the word of the month in November was self-discipline. Kids should be mindful about choosing activities that will not only help obtain their goals but also help them make wise decisions each day. Should they play video games or practice for their next class? Should they watch television or finish their homework? Being able to stay focused and on track is crucial for kids at school, at home and in their extra-curricular endeavours.

How can you help your children build character? Begin by teaching them these words, then add a few more that you feel are important each month. As a family, have an open dialogue about not only the words, but the actions that follow.


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