The Virtue of a Bee Sting

Teaching values early is so important, yet I often bypass them for the more traditional subjects.
teaching values

There is so much to teach our little ones.

First, we teach them to walk, talk, go potty in the toilet, get dressed, brush their teeth and then when we start our “formal teaching” we focus on kindergarten preparatory subjects, like shapes, counting, and ABC’s. These subjects take the bulk of my time and at the end of the day there is little left for teaching values.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I became very convicted when we noticed a slight up-tick in the squabbles between our 2-year-old and 4-year-old.  We decided to make character development the priority for a change.  We still taught the traditional subjects, but we made virtues the priority.

We focused the majority of our efforts on Audrey, our 4-year-old.  We knew if we could break through to her, she would set the tone for Emma, my 2-year-old.  We reminded her that she was the “Big Sister” and told her we expected her to take care of Emma.

Then we followed through.

Audrey was immediately punished whenever she mistreated her sister and of course, whenever she was extra kind toward her sister we rewarded her.  We taught her about love, compassion, honesty, courage and forgiveness.

We told her that as a leader, she should expect more of herself and bear a greater portion of the burden.  We gave her several examples, including Christ’s laying His life down for all of us.  “As an older sister, we expect you to love and protect Emma, just as God loves and protects you,” we told her.

That conversation took place more than a week ago.  Then today something terrible happened – little Emma was stung in the face by a bee.  Ouch!  The stinger was stuck in her poor little chin.  Pretty traumatic for a 2-year-old, but she survived.

Then, at dinner Audrey said the nicest thing I have ever heard.  What she said reaffirmed all the more, that teaching Godly virtues early is of the utmost importance.  Right out of the blue, Audrey said to my husband, “Dad, I wish that bee had strung me instead of Emma!”

I couldn’t believe it and I have never been so proud.  Even if Audrey never learned to read, I could be proud of such a kind heart.  How encouraging!  Young children can embody the virtues.

teaching values
Click Here to Download Free “Book of Virtues”

To the right is a link to download a free ebook, The Book Of Virtues.  The Book of Virtues will help you introduce 16 major virtues to your children: Love, Wisdom, Courage, Faith, Charity, Honesty, Work, Justice, Forgiveness, Thankfulness, Mercy, Humility, Dedication, Joy, Compassion, and Beauty. I hope that you find this as helpful as we have for teaching children virtues.Bee Photo Credit: Fotolia © Creative Images

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  1. says

    What a sweet sister! Sounds like she is learning a lot about being a big sister! Thanks for sharing with Learning Laboratory at Mama Smiles =)

  2. says

    That made me tear up, definitely a proud moment for you and such a compassionate, sweet girl! Thanks for sharing the link too, I will check it out.
    I wanted to just say that although I do agree with you on the importance of teaching good values to our children, I don’t think we need to focus so much on giving them “lessons” in virtue. We should take every opportunity we can to instill values by talking about kindness, friendship, love, compassion, honesty, but most importantly by showing all of these things to our children and to others through our own actions. Children will learn by example. If we show our children love and respect, they will learn love and respect, if we are patient and take the time to talk about our feelings and practice kindness, our children will learn to be patient and kind. Of course there has to be some instruction, they aren’t going to just magically learn everything by watching, there will be lots of reminders, stories are always helpful, and behaviors need to be practiced, but for the most part I think these things need to be gently taught and shown in all of things we do, all day long.
    Janine you’re a wonderful mother and a brilliant woman, thanks for starting the blog, it’s a good read and a great resource.


    • says

      You are spot on about leading by example. Isn’t it funny how they pick up everything! Even when you think they aren’t watching or listening. I think that the ultimate “lesson” is exactly what you said; shown through our own actions. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment!

  3. says

    OMGosh, my heart would have just melted at that point! It never gets old, when you get a glimpse into your child’s heart, the stuff they are made of…

    Its incredible how much we can learn from our children, when it is us in charge of the teaching. I know my children, especially my eldest, teaches me so much about compassion and forgiveness simply by being himself. I recall an incident when he was in 2nd grade and was being bullied. My husband & I had very strong words about this bully and his parents. And you know what my son said? “Actually, maybe his parents just didn’t teach him the way you teach me, maybe its not their fault either… we should just invite them over for dinner…” WOW.

    Thank you for linking this up to {Magic of the Mundane} and I truly look forward to your contribution next week!

    • says

      Yes it is lacking. It would be nice if elementary schools could have some virtues worked into their curriculum. Maybe it would help with the bullying problem? Thank you so much for the kind words.

  4. says

    that is a beautiful story. You are doing a great job!!! My daughters are older now, 21, 22, 23…and they love each other so much….if I would have know this outcome when they were little I wonder what would have been different..
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

  5. says

    What a tender thing to say! It looks like you have two wonderful girls! I agree that teaching virtues is important…sometimes we just have to make time to make sure they hear what we’re saying. I’m so excited to check out that Book of Virtues too! Thanks so much for linking up at Teach Me Tuesday!! I hope we see you again next week!

    • says

      Hi Carla! I’m sure you know the joy it brings when you teach a child something and they demonstrate what they have learned. It is even more so when they learn those principles that shape their spirit. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  6. says

    I was the oldest and was told that I was the example, and also since I was the oldest, I should know better. I am not sure if it gave me a kind heart – – but it did develop leadership and that was good. Also the teacher in me grew and that also was good.

    • says

      Leadership is such an important skill to develop. Not many people have it. I hope that we can develop in her those characteristics that make a good teacher too. Thanks!

  7. says

    wow…sounds like the lesson took root. some of those virtues are ones that we need to work on as well. thanks for linking up to tip-toe thru tuesday! i really hope to see you again this week!

  8. says

    What a great story. I love that you are doing this. It’s exactly what I’m trying to accomplish too. I love her heart for her sister.

  9. says

    What a wonderful story! I love how you are taking the time to guide your children towards embracing these virtues! When I taught elementary school I always tried to incorporate character traits into lessons because so many kids were lacking in one or another. Thanks for sharing on the Weekly Kid’s Co-op!

  10. says

    After you posted your link on my blog (Thank you for that!), I hurried over to see how a bee sting could be a wonder. Now I am crying lol Beautiful post!!

  11. says

    Thank you for linking up at Homeschool FreeBEE Friday! I just pinned your freebie on our FreeBEEs CoOp board on Pinterest. Thank you… I’ll be grabbing this one myself! =)

  12. says

    So sweet! What a darling thing to recognize at such an early age! Thanks for sharing at the Pomp Party!

    Jill @ Create.Craft.Love.

  13. says

    I am so blessed by what your dear Audrey said. Her heart is growing more Christ-like as you help her understand selflessness. It is a vital trait for being a mother wife and mother some day! Thank you for sharing at Deep Roots At Home. I hope you will always continue to do so~ this is wonderful content :)

    • says

      Hi Jacqueline, That is really nice of you to say. I can only try my best to train her up in the Word. I pray that she stays on this path and doesn’t stray. It is always a pleasure to link up at Deep Roots. I am finding so many wonderful resources. Thanks again!

  14. says

    I am right there with you with a (almost) 4 year old and a 2 year old. Sometimes they are so sweet to each other, and sometimes they are not =) I guess we will just have to keep on training them! Thanks for sharing at Trivium Tuesdays!

  15. says

    Last Fall when my girls were getting their flu shots my then four year old received the nasal version while my baby still needed the vaccine and my older girl said almost the same thing, “I wish I got the shot instead of my sister.” It was the proudest I had ever been of her!

  16. says

    How sweet of her, it looks like what you guys have been teaching her has helped. We are in the same process with our kids, teaching them to respect and love each other. My kids are the same age as yours. Thank you for the free book, I will read it.
    Thanks for stopping by at motivated mommy of two. I am your newest follower

  17. says

    Back on my feet from much needed time off…I’ve been under the weather. Catching up now. Thank you for participating in the Getting To Know You blog hop. It’s always great to see you there. Have a blessed day.

  18. says

    What a sweet girl! And what a great way to teach her compassion. Love the idea of teaching her to protect her younger sister. My son is 1 and my daughter is 3 so I’ll definitely be using this soon! Thanks for sharing at the Sunday Showcase!

  19. says

    Wow, this is wonderful. I’m proud of Audrey. As a mom/stepmom of 5, I have hard time finding the time to teach virtues. It seems like there is just so much “stuff” that has to be done that consciously finding the time is nearly impossible. I’ll download the book, thank you!

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