What’s Under Your Cape –{an obedient heart} & Citizenship Freebie

What if everyone did that? What if everyone threw trash out their car windows? What if all the kids at school did not line up at the bell?  What if nobody flushed the toilet? Why do we obey?

The simple answer is order and respect. “Without rules we risk danger and chaos” – Barbara Gruener, from her book What’s Under Your Cape?

Many of my teacher friends have been devouring this book in an effort to help our students become Superheroes of the Character Kind.


is an acronym that stands for these essential character traits.

              • Service
              • Unconditional Love
              • Perseverance
              • Empathy
              • Respect
              • Honesty
              • Enthusiasm
              • Responsibility
              • Obedience
              • Encouragement
              • Self Discipline

I want to talk you about obedience. What struck me as I read this chapter was how to explain the logic behind obedience.

My son forgets to flush the toilet. He washes his hands PTL, but not so much on the flushing! GROOOOOOS. At this point though, after all the reminders, it’s kind of becoming rude, thoughtless, inconsiderate, and actually disobedient. So I asked my 1st grader, What if no one flushed the toilet? What if no one could remember, or be bothered to do it?  He was horrified. Now he flushes the toilet… most of the time.  He needed a little logic to fall into the social norms of considerate living and citizenship.

But how do you teach your kids to become good citizens all the time? Sometimes a good start is making a list.  I think making a class anchor chart is a brilliant idea! I am going to do that for sure.  But I want to spend a little while talking about citizenship so I created another activity. Depending on your class, this sorting activity could be done as group or in cooperative learning teams.

Freebie about Citizenship from Teacher to the Core

Download now new So does a superhero / citizen always obey? What if someone was hurt could you interrupt two teachers talking if a student had fallen or was bleeding.  YES! There are ways to respectfully break a rule. This is where manners serve children so well.

The other main thing that serves children well is their attitude as they obey.  Do they obey all the way and with a happy heart? No? Then they are probably obeying because we overpower them. The minute that changes, they act out. They need to somehow find joy in obeying. Whole Brain Teaching talks about rule #5 “Keep your dear teacher happy”. This makes me think of obedience as a loving act.

happy teacher freebie Farrah Shipley is the Whole Brain Teaching guru in my life. She has a free download of all the rules in her TpT Store.  Including this one shown.

Whitney is an amazing blogger who talked about obedience as a matter of the heart. Do we obey happily? Do we show that we have happy hearts when we bend a knee? A happy heart chart is such a cool way for students to be rewarded for obeying and “enjoying it”

Whitney has this amazing freebie in her TpT Store and on her blog.

Obeying {right away, all the way, and with a happy heart} is tough though. Here is what it looks like in my life. Is the tithe check written with a happy heart in anticipation of God being honored? Am I making a smart choice to “go with the flow” happily vs. grumbling the whole time? Grumbling sessions still happen privately, Let’s be real.  The point I am making is obedience is for the big kids (us) too. The more we model a happy heart and narrate to our children how we enjoy following the rules of life, the more likely they are to follow suit. 

Barbara ends this wonderful chapter with a darling jingle that your students will love…

“Gotta be fair, You've gotta be fair.

You gotta take turns, and your gotta share!

“Gotta be fair, just gotta be fair.

Gotta obey the rules, all the time, everywhere.”

I love this book. Taking a big topic like Character Development and breaking it down this way is brilliant! You know what else is brilliant? This book study.