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Character Matters
April 2010
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Character Trait –Innovative:
Check It Out. – What Does It Matter? – How Does it Count?
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Made in the Image of a Creative God
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The world around us displays the incredible, unlimited creativity of our God. Genesis 1:27 says that He placed a portion of that creativity in each of us because we are made in His image. Some of us may be blessed with more creativity than others, but it's there whether we have developed it or not.

This month's character trait deals with an element of faith that is related to our theme of innovation – adaptability. Simply put faith is trust. Trust involves an element of the unknown in that we are asked to believe something before we see it with our physical eyes.

To grow in faith, we have to learn to step out into the unknown and do something beyond our comfort zone. God insists on stretching us beyond what we are comfortable doing because this forces us to depend on Him instead of our own abilities. For some of us, just making the decision to homeschool is a huge step of faith.

To grow in character, we must learn to be adaptable and flexible in order to be able to work with others who are different than ourselves. We see this in the life of the church as each member of the body comes together with their unique gifts and service. Adaptability and flexibility are necessary to develop relationships with others who have different personality and leadership styles.

I have to chuckle at God's sense of humor sometimes when I see some of the families He has put together. Such a concoction of personalities and learning styles! Yet He puts them together so that each can learn from the other and become flexible and adaptable.

Another aspect of this character trait is being innovative. When we think of people who are innovative, we usually think of inventors or highly creative people who develop completely new products or ideas. But it doesn't have to be so unique. The word simply means to add a new element or renew something.

So if you feel as if you don't have a creative bone in your body, you can still be innovative. Perhaps all that is needed is a slight tweaking of something. Or perhaps a new application for something that already exists. It's a matter of thinking outside your normal routine or way of doing things. It's thinking “outside the box.”

This trait can be especially useful for homeschoolers because we have the opportunity to do things differently. We are not stuck following a system of standards and classroom procedures. We can use whatever is at our disposal to teach a specific skill or concept, including field trips, real-life experiences, hands-on games and activities, real books, apprenticeships, and interactive projects.

To take advantage of this flexibility, though, we have to rethink what we know from our own educational experiences. This can be easier said than done because the typical classroom approach is ingrained into us as the only right way to do school. For new homeschoolers, it is often easier to begin with what you know and follow a more structured approach.

But as you become more confident and at ease with homeschooling, it's not unusual to become less structured and follow a more relaxed, innovative approach. As you become more familiar with how your child learns, you can identify specific areas that aren't working and think about the best way to meet the child's needs.

In some cases you can adjust the material you are already using. In other cases, you may need to add other resources and be flexible with your curriculum to accommodate these added materials. From time to time, you may have to chuck the program you are using and switch to something totally different. In short, don't be afraid to be innovative.
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Image Credit: Michelangelo

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