Summer Extravaganza Series Part 1: Best Parenting Advice EVER!

“Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”


The above quote has been attributed to many prominent historical figures over the years ranging from Chinese Philosopher, Lao Tzu, to Gandhi, to former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Regardless of who actually said it, the wisdom it contains is profoundly true!

We probably don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about the destiny of our families — it just sounds a bit heavy — am I right? But we probably ask questions that probe in that direction more often than we think. Have you ever thought:

  • Where are we headed as a family?
  • How do we get to a place of more cooperation, togetherness, and respect?
  • What will our family look like in 10-15 years?
  • What kinds of teenagers and adults will my children become? The kind who live in our basement at 30, or the kind who are courageous, strong, independent, and motivated?
  • Are my spouse and I investing time and attention in our marriage, or are we funneling everything into our kids?
  • Are we kicking the can of bad habits down the road?
  • Is our family growing apart?
  • Are my children’s friends more important than we are?
  • Is my spouse’s or my career more valued than our family?
  • Are my kids entitled or do they consider doing acts of service for others?

Strong character is the key to unlocking the answers to these tough questions.

If you’ve ever thought about the above mentioned concerns like I have, (All. The. Time.) this summer could be a great opportunity for your family to drill down on the essentials of character strength. For starters, remember your family’s destiny is to strive to ensure that each person from smallest to oldest, feels valued, empowered, protected, and loved. As intentional parents, you have what it takes to get there. Your crew is destined to know that the root of those wonderful feelings spring forth from the family—not friends, possessions, hobbies, sports, or even education. So, over the next few weeks, we’ll be talking about the essentials of building character in a three part Summer Series Extravaganza.

Strong character should be every family’s destiny. But it’s not a to-do list. Check this off and you’re good. Instead it’s a way of being, thinking, and acting that permeates your family culture and spills into everyone’s interactions outside the family. It’s not merely a life-hack technique to change the behavior of your children, but a way of relating to one another and living life more fully that leads to a brighter future for all. Who doesn’t want kids who are empowered to go out into the world and make a difference? The good news is, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to kickstart things in your family today. We’ve got 4 universal tips you can easily implement to put pep in your step this week.

While it’s super important that everyone is on board in living out character strength, when one person strives to create change internally and lets that change influence their actions, it’s contagious. So begin with YOU! (Of course if your spouse and kids are into it, bring them along! But if it feels like too big of an ask too soon, cool your jets and start with you.)

STEP 1: Over the next week, consider the virtue (aka:character strength) of orderliness. While it’s not one of the most exciting virtues out there, it is the basis for building a foundation of character. Once you get this one going, many more will naturally fall into place. Now that’s exciting.

STEP 2: Post an orderliness affirmation for the week in a high trafficked area like the bathroom mirror, in your car, near the family’s calendar. Say it whenever you get the chance. Live it and breathe it! Here are some examples of orderliness affirmations:

  • I am neat and tidy. I will clean and put away what I touch.
  • I do things step by step and calmly.
  • I can’t control how orderly others are, but I can control how orderly I am.
  • I can order my priorities to make time for my important people: my spouse and kids.

Keep in mind that orderliness isn’t just about organizing stuff. More importantly, it’s about ordering our time and priorities, so we can say yes and no confidently to everything that comes our way.

STEP 3: Over the course of the week, each day set a small, manageable plan to live out more orderliness. The key here is to make these daily steps achievable. You don’t need to reorganize your kitchen in a day, but maybe you can spend a few minutes on a trouble spot—like a drawer. Or make a concerted effort to be on time to an upcoming meeting or activity. Or how about planning to carve out 15 minutes of time to spend reconnecting with your spouse? Just plan and execute and you’ve got big wins in your future.

STEP 4: At the end of the week, share how your life has changed. Talk to your kids, spouse, and friends and let them know how this character strength made your week run more smoothly. Dive deep into the discussion. Did anyone notice changes in you? (We’d love to hear from you too, let us know at

Want more helpful prompts, activities, and resources to get your whole family involved in this journey towards more character? Check out our signature subscription box experience, Adventure into Character. It’s a great way to create fun and excitement as your family rallies around a new character strength every other month. You’ll experience more togetherness, gratitude, generosity, and more! Just in time for summer! Find out more about this amazing, unique family bonding experience here.

Next week, check out part 2 of our Summer Series Extravaganza. We’ll be talking about “The Art of Becoming.” Families of character evolve over the long haul, one memory-making moment at a time. We’ll talk about mastering the small steps that, over time, amount to the biggest leaps of your family’s life!

Until then, good luck with orderliness this week—you’ve got this!

If you have an issue you’d like our help with, drop us a line at If you’re experiencing a problem, chances are thousands of other families are in the same boat. We’re ALL in this parenting boat together!

Remember to tap into our Thrive Community on Facebook. It’s free and our team’s very own clinical counselor offers helpful tips and encouragement to parents who are adventuring together.

Mary Jo Gerd

Mary Jo traded in her media career interviewing celebrity actors and filmmakers for the more rewarding (albeit, less glamorous) vocation of full-time wife and mother. She hasn't looked back since... well, maybe once or twice. She lives in Denver and enjoys blogging about family life and her reversion to the Catholic faith on



Meet Adventure Into Character, our all-new subscription box experience designed to provide families with easy, fun, and practical ways to grow together.

Meet Adventure Into Character, our all-new subscription box experience designed to provide families with easy, fun, and practical ways to grow together.

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