By the end of this game, Caileigh and her friends had invited 3 other younger kids to play because they have internalized the reasons we are kind.

When my kids were little we were encouraged to give our children the reason why we made the decisions we did.  I will be honest and say that it was awkward, time consuming and meant that we needed to use a lot of words.  Instead of just saying, “Stop running”, we had to say, “Stop running in the hallways at church so you don’t knock into anyone.”  Or, “No, we cant’t go to the party because you were sick yesterday and we need to be well for 24 hours so we don’t get anyone else sick.”  

One of the best ways we found to do this was to have the entire family memorize 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 

We then memorized these verses from Mathew 22:37-40

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

These two sections of scripture helped us have the tools we needed to teach our children why we do what we do and sometimes, why we don’t.

On sharing – 

“We share our toys with our friends because Jesus wants us to love others.  To love others we must be kind and it is kind to share our toys”.

On talking back –

” Using those words is disrespectful and rude.  Love is not rude nor does it dishonor others.” 

On taking flowers from other’s yard ( we said this to Caileigh A LOT!) –

” We don’t take things that are not ours and we want to leave the pretty flowers for others to enjoy.  Love is not self-seeking which means we put others first.”

Why is this important? 

We want to train our children to think Biblically. We also want them to be able to reason.  Unfortunately, they don’t know how to do this on their own. When we do this when our kids are young it creates children and teenagers who apply this thinking to other areas in their life. They also know how to express their reasoning.  I have overheard my son telling a group of boys, ” No, I don’t think we should tp a house because that is disrespectful and dishonoring of others property. Maybe we can think of something else funny to do.” I didn’t need to step in because he did exactly what he needed to do. 

When kids are little and sick, they don’t naturally want to skip the party or the fun event but we need to help them think with an attitude of putting others first. To do that we continually need to tell them how and why we make the decisions we do.  It’s a part of training thoughtful, kind and Godly young people. 

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