TO BE KIND
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3-4
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Making it Practical:
At a recent leadership meeting the leader had the group participate in the following activity. Everyone was given a playing card along with the instructions that we could not look at our own card but make it visible to the other participants. We were also instructed to venerate or show preference to those with higher numbered cards and to scorn those with low numbers, all without saying a word. Then we were told to place ourselves in order of the card we thought we held. The amazing thing was how many middle value cardholders placed themselves low simply because they were moderately scorned by others ‘looks’, but not totally ignored like the lowest cards. We all discovered that the first place we communicate kindness is with our eyes, then our speech follows. This would be a fun activity to do with any elementary, middle or high school age group or in your own home.
Most Commonly Asked Questions of Contact Moms
Q: My kids ages 8 &10 fight and argue all the time. How do I teach them to be kind to each other?
A: When dealing with children on issues such as this, the first step is to whisper a prayer asking the Lord for wisdom as to how to proceed so that He is honored with the outcome. A good starting place may be to stop the argument immediately by instructing them to ‘fold their hands’ so they can gain self-control, very much like you did when they were toddlers. These few moments of quiet will give you and the children time to think, pray and process. During this time ask yourself some questions – How long has this been an issue? Is this a new behavior or something I’ve allowed to go on and I’m now noticing? What is the example of conflict resolution before my children in our home? Are they around influences outside the home that bicker and argue?
Fighting and arguing is rooted in pride, selfishness, anger, bitterness, jealously and more. Throughout the Bible, and specifically in Proverbs not only do we find admonitions regarding these behaviors, the Scripture also provides the consequences of what happens to a contentious person. Once the children have ‘self-control’, if you haven’t previously shared with them the root causes of fighting and arguing, now would be a good time to do so. Sharing scripture with the objective of the Word doing the ‘lecturing’ not Mom. Once the children appear to have an understanding of the words spoken, provide them an opportunity to independently reflect on their actions and words, with the additional instructions that they need to be able to again share with you what they did wrong and what they must do to make it right. In addition to those two question, you may also provide ask them some questions like: Why was my reaction right or wrong? How could I have handled this situation differently? How can I make this right? Who all was involved and how can I restore with each one?
If this has been an ongoing issue between the children make this behavior something they will work on for at least a month. Using Scriptures that speak to these issues and encourage them to memorize appropriate passages. For example, II Tim. 2:23 shares: “avoid foolish, ignorant disputes which lead to strife”. Empower them to recognize when to walk away, and abandon the quarrel even before it breaks out (Proverbs 17:14). Romans 12:18 shares: “As far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” This is something that can be reinforced and cultivated. Remember, the best teacher is the Word of God and there are plenty of biblical examples from both the Old and New Testaments of conflicts and how they were rightly or wrongly handled.
On a lighter note, if this behavior is not characteristic of your children, but something new, perhaps a reminder in the midst of the argument about how much you LOVE hearing them be cooperative, getting along and being best friends. Asking them to tell one another ‘I love you’ sometimes breaks the tension and makes them laugh. They smile, hug and the result is cooperation and peace. “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends” by Sarah, Stephen and Grace Mally is a book we recommend.
Kind: Disposed to do good to others, and to make them happy by granting their requests, supplying their wants or assisting them in distress; having tenderness or goodness of nature; benevolent.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12
Kindness is more than deeds. It is an attitude, an expression, a look, a touch. It is anything that lifts another person. ~C. Neil Strait
THOUGHTS FROM THE BOARD
”The kindest word in all the world is the unkind word, unsaid.” ~Author Unknown
Wow! Does that quote strike me! Sadly and much to my dismay, in the process of running my home and managing my children, holding my tongue has not been a strength. I’m quick to draw attention to areas in my children that need attention, areas they may be characteristically weak or things I find frustrating in them. Seeing the need to correct, point out mistakes, stop a quarrel or give a reminder to kindness is probably more common than reminding myself that kindness is also necessary in me. As a mom, while it is true that God has given me the role of authority, protector and guide over my children, these roles should not overtake the fact that the same call to speak kindly applies to me … actually in greater measure. With both tone and content, my example speaks louder than my words or instructions, no matter how true, right or good all that may be.
An illustration of how easily, and even naturally, this happens in everyday life is going on in my home even as I think and type some comments on ‘kindness’. A new dishwasher is being installed in the kitchen just a short distance from my computer and my ears are picking up some frustration, short tempers, and sharp words between the installers, particularly between the charge person’s lack of kindness to his co-worker. His instruction and orders to his counterpart are being given with a sharp tone, plus exhaling accusing breaths, gestures and innuendo. The frustration and tension between them is palatable. This all caused me to think about how kind my instructions, orders, challenges, and corrections are as I try to ‘install’ character and confidence in my children. God provided an example right here in my kitchen of what I sound like at times. Thankfully, He also displayed for me a positive outcome. The whole situation cooled and changed when the one in charge apologized to his co-worker. Ahhhh, the feeling of a fresh start … even to me as an observer; the feeling of progress, and fresh ‘air’ to complete the task or, in our case as moms, to complete the day.
Yes, the reality is there are days when we blow it; we are not always the best examples of kindness or other virtues to our children. Thankfully, God has given us instruction in His Word and that is reinforced through the GKGW teaching. Someone said ‘to err on the side of kindness is seldom an error’. Wouldn’t life be beautiful if this were our motto? As moms we make more progress with our children when we admit our failures, apologize, seek forgiveness and make a sincere effort to improve. That doesn’t mean we’ll be perfect, but it does mean there’s fresh air, a new day and we can rejoice in the fact that God’s mercies are new every moment, morning and night. He is near and He is faithful.
This presentation is a panel discussion that includes four moms whose children range from 2 years thru teens. Collectively they provide practical tips on establishing good relationships between siblings, as well as responding to questions asked by other moms present. Order the CD here.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. ~ AESOP,The Lion and the Mouse