Of all my children, my kitten number 3 is by far the, ahem, let’s say fiercest. She’s bold, determined, and some days full of sass. She’s got a will, that’s for sure, and knowing what God says about the power of our tongues and speaking life over our children, my husband and I are always telling her that she’s going to be a bold, Godly leader one day. However, along with those positive declarations, we also have her repeat this simple phrase after each sibling head-lock, hair-pulling match, or moment of defiance, “I am kind and sweet and gentle and I obey my mommy and daddy.” It’s actually pretty stinking adorable coming out of her little mouth.
Kindness, (which we are combining with goodness since the attributes of each are similar and hard for children to distinguish), is kind of a big deal now-a-days. There are so many movements and organizations pushing for less acts of hate and more acts of thoughtfulness and love. With bullying as a major issue, it’s no wonder that we’ve started to turn our focus towards healing acts of love. But the problem is that if we only focus on outward acts, that won’t actually fix the problem. Anyone can open the door for an elderly person, but how many can deny their social status, and befriend the outcast who everyone else avoids like the plague?
Kindness isn’t an act. It’s a heart change that leads to acts.
If we want to see kindness and goodness in our children, we have to focus on those little hearts. For example, with our kitten number three, I’ve started to pay attention to when it is she starts acting out towards her sister. It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that it’s usually when her sisters won’t let her play the game with them, or when they have a toy she wants. Paying attention to what’s going on inside helps me to address her heart and not just her actions. And no matter how little they are, it’s never too early to start pointing them back to Jesus, because he is the ultimate example of kindness.
I know that I feel a huge shift in my compassion for others when I’m spending time in His Word and presence. When I get closer to Him, his heart becomes mine. I begin to see the world through His eyes, and showing kindness isn’t an act from head knowledge of doing the right thing, it’s an act from my heart for His people.
For this lesson, the kids and I took a field trip. There’s a local organization that feeds and clothes the needy in our city, and I had been wanting to get our family involved for a while now. This was the perfect opportunity. You don’t have to go volunteer anywhere though to teach your kids about kindness. You could do something simple like have them make and serve dinner to Dad or another family member after a long day. The point is to get them thinking about others. After we volunteered we talked about how good it felt to spend our morning serving others and how this looked like what Jesus did. We talked about how kindness blesses both the person on the receiving and giving end.
We also memorized Ephesians 4:32 - “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
You can download this memory verse as a beautiful printable here, as well as the full family guide for teaching your children about the fruits of the spirit! There are even printable cards with discussion questions, making it easy to incorporate these lessons into family dinners!
Let’s raise this next generation to show kindness not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s who they are.
Continue to lesson 6 on faithfulness here!