I am always looking for practical parenting ideas that work! The following is both. Hope it works for you as it did for me 😀
Do you sometimes watch your kids act a certain way, and you’re left thinking where in the world did that come from?? Don’t get me wrong; I love my kids more than life itself but, Kids Be Crazy.
A swift right punch to a brother’s stomach and my little angel transforms into a menace that needs to be dealt with right away! We come up with these fantastic reasons why they shouldn’t hit, throw, hurt someone’s feelings, etc. It hurts your brother, something will break, it will distract everyone on and on we go. Once our patience is tested numerous times, it is so difficult not to resort to “because I said so!!” in a semi- yelly voice 😉
As parents, it is our job to create humans that will eventually be functional, productive members of society. It is a daunting task, tons of responsibility in that sentence! We take this job pretty seriously and we should, we have seen the world and the people in it. We know exactly who we don’t want our kids to become.
My perspective was completely changed when a wise woman, whose children are all grown-up, said to have my children memorize the fruits of the spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
All of a sudden, I saw how the principles I was trying to instill and the disciplinary corrections I was giving to my children lined up with the fruits. Do these sound familiar?
Don’t throw that ball in here… show self-control
I will get you that in a moment…be patient
We don’t always get what we want… have joy in your heart always
Share with your sister… be kind
Gentle with your baby brother… be gentle
Say thank you…be thoughtful
The dog doesn’t like it when you do that… love *I will expand on this below
My two sons are very different. For one, gentleness comes naturally; for the other, it is thoughtfulness. That’s two out of the nine fruits 👍🏼. That’s not too great, I thought, what now?
Once they have them memorized, she said. Look for opportunities to call out the fruits of the spirit in your children. See, the fruits are given to us by God. We have all nine fruits of the spirit living in us. We just need opportunities to exercise them like a muscle. Some come more naturally either because of our personalities or what gets modeled to us.
Some of us need to dust off some cobwebs from our own fruits, am I right??
This advice changed everything for me. Looking for opportunities to call out the fruits of the spirit turned my initial reaction of frustration to one of opportunity. When my boys were doing the opposite of kindness, gentleness, etc. It became an opportunity for them to learn. It seemed so simple.
Here are some of the things I said to them:
Don’t throw that airplane across the room; you have self-control. God did not skip over you when he was giving out self-control. You have it in you. Just as much as the next kid. I know you want to throw it, but you can tell that feeling no. You can do it!
Choose joy, choose to be joyous even if you didn’t get what you want. You have it in you… can you find it? I bet if you smile, you will find it. Your joy is always there. Choose to use it. You don’t have to feel unhappy; you are choosing to be unhappy about this.
I know you like doing that to Zoey (our Shih-Tzu), but she doesn’t like it. You love Zoey, right? Love is an action. It is not just a feeling. We show love by doing, not what we like, but what the other person likes. Do you think that Zoey is feeling the love right now?
I know that you don’t think you can wait. But you can. Show me and show yourself that you can be patient. God wants us to use the fruits that he has given us.
These are just some examples of how I try to call out the fruits. The list goes on and on. The boys are always giving me opportunities to call out the fruits.
The most significant difference I have found is the way it has changed my attitude and actions. It is kind of hard to yell at your kids at the same time that you are trying to call out gentleness or kindness in them. It is also hard to throw an adult temper-tantrum and pout when you are trying to teach self-control and joy. And my personal favorite, it is hard to model patience when you are trying to rush them along, muttering things under your breath looking at them with angry eyes… anyone else, or am I alone here 🙋🏻♀️. I am slowly learning that many times I choose the easy way out and react. The fruits in me needed some motivation to show. It is easy to act and say what we want, but when we are leading by example, we have no choice. Sometimes it is hard, but the more my intentionality increases, the easier it gets.
What is a fruit?
For your children to get the full picture, you should also teach them the purpose of the fruits of the spirit.
Here is how our conversation went:
Where do fruits grow? On trees
Is the fruit that grows on the trees for the trees to use? No
Who is the fruit for then? Everyone else to enjoy
These gifts are not necessarily for us. When we use them, we model God's heart to the people around us. They get to experience who Jesus is through us. Sometimes, the only Jesus that people get is through us, and we try to do a good job representing him. Like any other fruit, these fruits within us need to be tended to and nurtured.
My children are still young; they are still learning about Jesus and God. The hope is that they will be able to identify the fruits and use them to shine a light on the world. I don't know about you, but knowing that my kids can impact the world in such a positive way, makes all the teaching, correcting, praising, disciplining, so worth it!
Thank you so much for reading this!
I have included a link to a book I got from Amazon that took this lesson a step further.
Click here 👇🏼
As always please share if you enjoyed this :)