Thanks to our spectacular Children’s Pastor (the astounding Laura Rubin), our kids have had the Fruit of the Spirit drilled into them…well, at least they know Galatians 5:22-23 really well. I don’t know if the “fruit of the Spirit” song they keep singing is an original or not, but it has definitely stuck. So Emily & I decided that this might be a good opportunity to take 1 per week, over the Summer, as a family, and investigate each one.
Of course with boys everything is a competition…so the added layer to learning is that at the end of each week, we will vote. Whoever we believe modeled that particular virtue or fruit during the week, gets the “game ball.” No just hold on, all ye theologians who feel we may instill works righteousness into our kids…you gotta start somewhere! You are correct: we don’t start with fruit and get to the root of the tree. It IS the other way around. My hope as a parent is that in practicing these, and talking about each one throughout the week as a family will help us see how desperately we need Christ in our hearts in order for these to become natural.
First up: Love. It was family vacation this week, and we attempted to practice “loving our neighbor as we love ourselves,” and “treating each other the way we desire to be treated.” A couple lessons emerged from this…even for mom and dad :).
1) It’s frequently easier to show love to my “neighbor” with whom I do not live! The person who is always around and in/near my space has a tendency to get on my nerves. Why is it so easy to be thoughtless and disrespectful to family in ways we would never imagine with others?
2) The LORD makes a significant point when He said to love others as we love ourselves. Most of us REALLY love ourselves. Not in an over-the-top narcissistic kind of way, but in most moments of the day I reveal great concern about ME: what I’m going to eat, what this outfit will look like on me, what others think about me, will I get to eat at the restaurant I want, is there enough money to buy the thing I want…on and on. It’s as if I want to ensure I’m taken care of first, then I’ll get to you. What the Spirit reveals in practicing love is that I’m not against you, I’m just so FOR ME. Practicing agape’ (loving without expecting in return) is hard, unnatural, and impossible without the Spirit of Christ.
Parents…remember that we are the primary disciplers of our children, not the Church. I love the Church. I’m a huge fan and have committed my life to working in the Church. I’m deeply grateful for ALL of the things the Church does to provide material, education, godly examples and wonderful experiences to expose my children to Christ and the community of faith. Let’s embrace the opportunity to use those tools to infuse Christ into our conversation and experiences at home. At best, the Church has your kids 100 hours per year. They have you over 3000 hours per year!
Who got the game ball this week? Likely not I. We’ll find out at bedtime 🙂