by Joey and Carla Link
Parents do a lot of talking. Your kids need to see less talking and more “doing.” It is time to put into practice the frequent words of advice you give your kids.
“Please be kind to each other,” Mom begged her kids. Ephesians 4:32 tell us to “be kind and tenderhearted to each other.” For kids, these are just words. Show your kids what kindness looks like.
- Ask your church for the names of elderly widows who don’t have family in the area, then adopt a couple of them. Ask them over for dinner.
- Have a theme of “Be happy.” During dinner, Dad starts a game of, “I’m happy when…” and calls out a person’s name to go next. Once that person answers, he gets to call out a name and so forth.
“I told you to pick up your room! Why is it still a mess?” Mom yelled. “When are you going to learn to keep your room clean?” Instead, going with the “Be happy” theme, gather your kids and tell them that you are having a positive reinforcement day (Proverbs 31:31). Whenever they cheerfully do what they have been instructed to do with no reminders or warnings, they get a reinforcement or reward. Have a basket ready with pieces of candy, gum and cards with one of their names on each one. When one of your children pulls a card, he reads inside how special he is to you. Over the dinner table, Dad asks the kids if they enjoyed getting smiles and hugs all day from Mom rather than consequences. Mom tells which child got the most rewards and Dad tells that kid he is taking him and only him out for ice cream that night.
“Mom-m, sissy won’t share her toy with me,” your 5 year old whined. Mom goes to her daughter and asks her why she won’t share and reminds her it is “more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) Show your children the blessing of giving. Staying with the “Be happy” theme, work with your kids to show them the blessings of sharing what they have. Declare a ‘sharing’ day. Have each of your kids choose 2 outfits they don’t wear anymore and 2 toys.
Take them for a drive to a homeless shelter. Tell them why people become homeless, especially women and children. Ask them if they would like to give their clothes and toys to these children, who have little to play with. That night when you tuck them into bed, let them know how proud you are of them.
We hope you can see how “doing it” will show your children how to model the character of God. There is little else you can do that will have more value than this!