Awhile back, I talked about what God was teaching me about parenting. I shared my journey of learning to love my girls through patience, including a lot of practical, real-life examples:
I haven’t “arrived” in the area of patience, but God has been working in my heart and I’m ready to delve into the next part of “love” according to 1 Corinthians 13. Of course, I’ll still have plenty of opportunities to choose to be patient. The next word on the list is something that also describes a patient person…
Love is KIND
Am I kind to my girls? Let’s see what definition we get for “kind.”
Synonyms: Mild, benevolent, pleasant, gracious, gentle.
Antonyms: Harsh, hard, sharp, bitter.
People don’t often talk about being “kind” these days. It’s a bit of an old-fashioned word. Most people use the word “nice.” I think that “nice” lacks something, though. It’s more about how you appear to act. “Kind” seems to me to include the motivation behind the actions. Not necessarily feelings, though feelings can be good, but the intention of doing good for the other person, not just acting good in front of them.
What else does the Bible say about kindness?
“…God’s kindness leads you to repentance.” ~Romans 2:4
That’s huge! Of all the things that could have been said here, the Bible says that His kindness is what leads us to turn away from our sins and towards Him!
What does that say about my kindness (or lack thereof) towards my girls? When I am sharp or short with them, does that mean that it’s more difficult for them to repent when they sin? When I am consistently kind, does that make it easier for them to repent when they do wrong? I think so.
When a young child does something they know is wrong, they tend to either become defiant or passive-aggressive when a parent yells or snaps at them. When a parent is kind, it gives their little hearts the opportunity to feel the need for forgiveness. This is so important.
Kindness Requires Patience
I can’t be a kind mother if I’m impatient, right? Maybe that’s why patience is listed first. It’s hard to love impatiently. 😉
So, if I am striving to be patient, then I have many opportunities to show kindness. I’m not talking about letting the kiddos get away with disobedience, but about responding kindly to them, whether they are obeying, or not. As I mentioned before, I’m not a yell-scream-throw thing kind of parent, but that doesn’t mean I’m always “kind” with my words and actions. What does kindness look like?
- A gentle voice– no snapping or sighing.
- A pleasant face– no scowling, tight-lipped glowering.
- Calm body language– no toe-tapping, crossed arms, hands on hips or similar poses.
- “Building-up” words– no frustrated questions (“Why did you do that?!?!”), no name-calling (“You’re so strong-willed!” counts!), no exaggerating (“You always/never…”).
As with patience, kindness is something we mamas have to be intentional about doing and being. Especially when we are in the midst of dealing with something very frustrating (“Aaakkk- she wrote/carved her name on the widow sill of our rental house!!”) I find that quickly and silently praying through the verse helps me.
“Father, you are so patient and kind towards me when I sin. Please help me to demonstrated that love through patience and kindness toward my girls.” Reminding myself throughout the day that, “Love is patient, love is kind…” helps to work that truth into my heart. It gives God the opportunity to use His word to change my heart and, through it, my words and actions.