My friend Kelly and sat drinking coffee a few weeks ago and started swapping ways we’ve been attempting to help our children live out the truth that Love Gives and Love Serves. We thought it would be fun to start a list to share, so here is my list. Notice that the list emphasizes what we say to our children when we give and serve. That’s because our children don’t always know how love gives, and they don’t understand the connection when they do give to one another.
I think it’s just as important to make the connection when our children are doing right as it is to challenge them when they’re deciding to do right, or when they’ve done wrong. I also believe it is a good idea to explain how mom and dad’s actions show love for them and each other. We can even point out good examples that we see around us.
Jesus told the disciples that the world would know that we are His disciples by the love we have for one another. That motivates me to brainstorm how I can show love to the people in my local church as well as my own family.
- Cleaning house. I am washing the dishes so the house looks clean for Daddy. That’s how I show him that I love him.
- Daddy goes to work each day because he loves us. He works hard so we can have money to buy groceries and gas for the car.
- Having times where we talk and laugh together. Mommy loves to talk with Daddy. We have fun together. (maybe that’s something I can say when we go out to eat)
- Taking flowers to some widows in our church.
- Sharing, letting someone else go first (be prepared for the response, I love her, but I don’t want to share with her!
- Helping each other (David helped you because he loves you. He’s showing you that he loves you)
- Writing thank you notes (we say thank you because we love others)
- Attending birthday parties and involving children in the gift giving process. I’ve found it helpful to discuss giving ahead of time in these situations.
- Overlooking offenses (Laurel didn’t intend to knock you over. You show love to her when you choose not to be angry.)
- Inviting guests to our house, allowing our children to take part in serving them. I have them color name cards and bring guests iced water. We want to show our guests that we love them by serving them. That’s why we make sure that the knives and forks are straight, and why we serve them first.
- Making cookies for the pastor of our church. Our pastor loves us so much and serves us every week. Let’s make some cookies to show him that we love him, too.
- Picking up trash. Some people leave their trash because they don’t care about others who don’t want to see their trash. Let’s pick it up so the next people who come don’t see any trash. We actually take bags with us when we go hiking and when we go on walks. That way we can pick up trash along the way.
- Making a surprise for somebody we love. Children love surprises. Grandma will be surprised when she sees the paintings we made. This is one way we can show Grandma that we love her.
- Asking forgiveness. When we ask forgiveness and make things right, we’re showing that we love each other.
- Pointing out people in the Bible who demonstrate giving. As I’m writing this, I’m deciding that I want to teach my children John 3:16, but I’m sure I can think of a number of passages to teach the concept.
Do you have any more?