In my last post, I shared about the importance of building godly character in our children. Because I think character building is so important, I’ve been wanting to give you some hands-on activities and options to do just that! However, there are so many great character traits and so many awesome resources available, I realized that there’s no way to even scratch the surface of the ideas out there in one post, so I’m planning a series of posts over the summer on character building. I hope you’ll find them helpful!
Each week we’ll look at a character trait and some ideas on how to creatively work on building that trait in your children. I recommend taking at least a full week to focus on each character quality, or longer if you see your child needs work in that area (or maybe you’ll realize you need work in that area yourself! I forgot to warn you that focusing on character building in your children could reveal some areas you might need to work on!) Once the week is up, don’t stop talking about that character trait, in fact, tell your kids you’ll still be watching for them to exhibit that trait even though you’re focusing on another one.
Week 1: Kindness
Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. (according to google! ) It’s exemplified by having a loving attitude towards others; thinking of their needs and reaching out to be a blessing to them.
Did you know that God commands us to be kind to one another?
Colossians 3:12 says: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience”
Kindness is also a fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
So here are some ideas on how to work on kindness with your children:
- Teach your children to pray for God to help them to be kind. Because kindness is a fruit of the Spirit, we need to realize that although we can try to be kind in our own strength, we’re most likely to develop the quality of kindness if we allow the Spirit of God to build kindness in us. As you talk with your kids about kindness and ways to be kind, also pray with them that God will help each of you to see ways that you can be kind and that He’ll give you the desire and ability to be kind in all circumstances.
- Memorize scripture related to kindness like the two verse I listed above. Make it fun, using music to help them memorize, or making posters to hang in the house with the verse written on it. Read the verse together several times a day until it’s memorized. Practice together, make it fun! For children who are able to read, you can make a game out of the verse by writing out each word on an individual card and then mixing them up and timing your child as they arrange them in the right order. Or you can come up with some symbols for each word and draw them on each card for a non-reader so they can play the same game. You could also hide the cards around the room and have the children find them, and then help them put them in the right order. Write out the verse with a few words missing and a blank to fill in that spot… keep taking out more words till they have it memorized. If you need to, give a reward to the child who has the verse memorized to motivate them.
Here are some more verses to consider for memorization or to read throughout the week:
- Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
- I Corinthians 13:4: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant”
- II Timothy 2:24: “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil”
- Brainstorm together on ways that you can be kind to one another or to others. Give some suggestions on ways your children can be kind to one another or to others, and then ask them to give you more ideas of what they can do. It can be as simple as smiling at someone who looks sad, or giving a hug. Or you can be more elaborate, like all of you helping to make a meal for a family who is going through a hard time and bringing it to them together. At breakfast each day, as you work on the memory verse, ask your children for more ideas and pray with them for God to show them ways to be kind to others.
- Read Bible stories about people who were kind. Take time to discuss how the characters in the story were kind and how God used them. The story of Ruth is a great story of one woman’s kindness to her mother-in-law. Read the story of David and Jonathan, and the many kindnesses they showed one another. There are many stories of Jesus showing kindness to others throughout the Gospels.
- Practice random acts of kindness yourself as an example for your children. Did you know that there’s actually a website about random acts of kindness?https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/ Check it out! Ask the Lord for opportunities to be an example of kindness to your children.
- Start each day asking your kids what act of kindness they want to do for someone else that day. Take their ideas and follow through! Summer is a great time to do this, as we have more time together. Give each of the children an opportunity for their idea to be chosen and completed.
- Make a kindness corner. I love this idea! You find a corner of your home where you can put up pictures of the children (or you or your spouse) when they were being kind to someone, and then start taking pictures! You can also put up your memory verse and some suggestions on how to be kind. Then start filling in the space with pictures or artwork! If you don’t want to take up a whole corner of the house, you could just make a poster board with pictures and quotes related to kindness. Here’s a link to the website where I found this idea and more info on how to carry it out:
- Watch for acts of kindness in your children and praise them for it! Encourage them by recognizing their acts of kindness. They’ll probably follow your example and start recognizing kindness in their siblings and hopefully they’ll encourage one another as well.
I pray you will enjoy the fruit of kindness in your home as you focus on this character quality this week!
Next week we’ll focus on GRATEFULNESS!