Aidan Cassidy On How to Encourage Good Character in Children

As a public servant, councilmember, and Sunday school teacher, Aidan Cassidy has built his career on good character. He has used his influence to help his community and his church congregation. For over 10 years, he and his wife have worked with the church’s youth to help instill good character in the children of his church and his community.

To Cassidy, judgment, imagination, intentions, motives, temperament, and love work together to create a person’s moral standing. The balance of each of these pieces will set individuals apart. While some might be born with strong character, others can learn it. To become the most positive version of one’s self, Aidan Cassidy says that people, especially children, can learn to build their ideal character.

The Pillars of Good Character

To develop good character in children, Cassidy says that it should be instilled at a young age, and at a deep level. Positive actions and behaviors should become automatic. He explains that the main components of a respectable character include:

  • Respect
  • Caring
  • Fairness
  • Responsibility
  • Trustworthiness
  • Self-Control

He adds that courage, integrity, and diligence round out the list to create a model of a strong identity. Aidan Cassidy suggests that when working with children, adults can focus on one component at a time and find creative ways to highlight it. In his Sunday school class, he uses stories from the Bible to illustrate each of these traits. He works with children to explore how ancient people exuded them.

Set Good Rules

As a Bible Study leader, Cassidy was tasked with setting the tone of his class and creating rules for proper behavior. He incorporated the ideals of good character into these guidelines that he asked children to abide by.

Aidan Cassidy explains that by discussing these rules and the traits that are embodied within them, teachers and leaders can put good character into action. They can help children live out strong behaviors by starting them in the classroom.

Require Respect

Children should have a clear understanding of respect, including self-respect. Negativity, judgment, and abuse should never be tolerated. As children grow into teens and adults, they must be able to respect authority, as well as those around them.

Show Love

Children understand the affectionate side of love. However, they may not understand that love sometimes requires putting someone else first. People of strong character will be able to put their own desires aside and work for a greater good.

Cassidy says that parents and youth leaders should challenge children to let their friends take a turn first when it is time to do something enjoyable. Give them plenty of opportunity to practice selflessness by incorporating it into everyday situations.

Highlight Good Role Models

In his Sunday class, Aidan Cassidy uses the Bible to showcase good role models for the children. He explains that kids will choose their own role models, whether an adult helps them or not. By making a point of highlighting good behavior through his Bible lessons, he deliberately teaches children about individuals who his students can imitate.

From time to time, he asks students to act out scenes from the book, and allows them to make “better” choices for the people in the stories. This allows children to be safely put in a challenging situation, and have the opportunity to assess it, and make more wholesome choices.

Encourage Patience

As a youth study leader, Cassidy regularly encounters children who have difficulty with patience. Lack of patience is a common concern for many parents, but it is fairly simple to address. Children have a difficult time waiting for their turn, sitting through a long sermon, and many other everyday activities.