My boys are huggers. They love giving hugs to say hello and goodbye. I remember times, however, when we were rushed to deliver kids to extracurricular activities, church functions or sleep overs. The more we rushed the less time we had for proper goodbye instructions. No “say yes ma’am and no ma’am, make sure you are a good example, clear your plate from the table, and most importantly be respectful.” What we needed was a simple gesture that was understood by all of us. We needed a high-five.

There are many benefits to educating your children at home, but one of my favorites is the way common practices are pillars for character building. By discussing the meaning of the gesture with your children often and in detail, you can exchange a hearty high-five as your kiddos rush out the door, and you will know that your silent agreement for good behavior is firmly in place.

A character building high-five works like this:

Honesty (thumb) – Honesty and integrity are key components to success. Remind your children to embrace honesty in the schoolwork they complete, in their personal friendships and when doing household chores or outside responsibilities.

Friendships (index finger) – Make a commitment to become involved in your child’s friendships. While it is important that your child learn to make and keep friends, you should know who their friends are and their friends should know you.

Involvement (long finger) – Agree to find activities to do together. You already school together, so consider trying a few new activities together. Everyone, young and old, should get an opportunity to choose an activity for the family. By committing to be involved with each other, children, may be less likely to become involved in activities that are not family friendly.

Vision (ring finger) – It is difficult to create a path to success if you don’t have a plan. Help your children understand what the future looks like and how their actions today can impact that future. For example, working hard on their schoolwork will create additional opportunities further down the road.

Excellence (pinky finger) – Excellence is not something we can achieve without work. Help your children understand that they will sometimes fail. It’s ok to not always be successful, but they should strive for excellence in their chores, school projects, attitude and relationships. Excellence is not perfection, it’s the desire to do something well.

Hugs from my boys are still the best around, but we do take time to exchange a high-five in honor of these five important traits.

Are you interested in learning more about ways to cast a vision and positive path for your family? Join us at the THSC Conventions in Arlington and The Woodlands. Registration is open now and we’d love to see you…and exchange a high-five!

Texas State Historical Association