Love My Brother?
All of you be of one mind . . . tenderhearted. 1 Peter 3:8
Being kind to one another was a family priority when the kids were small.
For example, I (Teresa) taught them to say "thank you" when someone shared his or her toys or when an adult served them at the table. As the kids became teenagers, we seemed to grow out of making kindness a priority. Instead, issues like being home on time, getting homework done, and not wrecking the car became important. The habits of being kind to one another we had developed seemed suddenly foreign during those teen years.
David and I discussed what we were seeing happen between the kids. During one of our marriage staff meetings, we thought of a plan to increase kindness in our family. We first determined that David and I needed to model kindness to one another. Second, we decided to insist that the kids talk to one another with kind words and respectful tones. We determined to design and follow through with a plan of discipline that encouraged kind words and actions. Then the work began.
David and I worked hard to affirm one another and the kids at dinner. We watched our tone as we talked with the kids and used words that were tender rather than inflammatory. We stopped Eric when he teased his sister about a sensitive subject. We asked Robin to keep quiet if she didn't have anything positive to say about the dinner—or the cook who prepared it. We stopped Terri from criticizing her younger brother and sister, even though they often "got in the way."
The kids are all kind to each other without us having to stand over them. It's a joy to see kindness become a heritage we can pass on to our kids.
In what ways can you, your spouse, and your children demonstrate God's tender love within your household?
Father, help us to create an atmosphere of kindness in our home.
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