When my children are unkind, I want to help them put off the old man of unkindness and put on the new man of kindness. What will that look like?
First, I require asking forgiveness, not just making a statement of apology (etymology: a defense). They must name a sin and ask for a response.
- If a toy is taken away for whatever reason, kindness means I will give it back. (the older children understand that the correct way to retrieve a toy that has been unjustly taken is to ask for it, and then ask for help if needed)
- Replacing ugly words to encouraging words.
- Praying for a sibling. (Jesus tells us to pray for and bless our enemies. How much more should we pray for and bless our siblings.)
- Letting a sibling go first (first to choose a dessert, first in the car, first to choose a game to play or book to read).
- Helping a sibling make her bed or clean her room.
- Helping a sibling with chores (washing breakfast dishes)
- Asking a sibling, “How can I make it right?” or “How can I serve you right now?”
Some of these even my eighteen month old baby can understand. All of them I have used at some point or another with my two older children in the last year (Bethel is 3 and a half; David is five this month). Can you add to the list?