Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kindness and Goodness....

Continuing on with the Fruit of the Spirit Series...today we have Kindness and Goodness,  I have enjoyed looking at and meditating on the Fruit of the Spirit and challenging myself to grow in these areas in my own life and especially in my parenting. 

I feel like these fruits of the spirit are tricky.  Of course we are Kind and Good to our children right??

Here are a few synonyms for Kindness....

Kindness-- compassion, generosity, affection, benevolence, charity, clemency, consideration, courtesy,  forbearance, gentleness, good intention, good will, goodness, grace, graciousness, heart, helpfulness, hospitality, humanity, indulgence, mildness, patience, sweetness, sympathy, tenderness, thoughtfulness, tolerance, understanding, unselfishness


Let's look at Goodness...

Goodness-- decency, excellence, benefit, benevolence, friendliness, generosity, good will, grace, graciousness, honesty, honor, humaneness, integrity, kindheartedness, kindliness, kindness, mercy, merit, morality, nourishment, quality, righteousness, rightness, value, virtue, wholesomeness, worth


I wasn't so much convicted by these 2 fruits of the spirit as I was challenged.  Because I do not think I am a mean, evil,  indecent, wicked, barbarous or cruel (all the antonyms to the above words) mother...though I certainly have had my moments. 

I am challenged by the list above to lavish MORE love, kindness, and goodness on my children.  I remember reading in Disciplines of a Godly Family (Kent and Barbara Hughes) that they had a tradition of randomly waking their children up and going to get Ice Cream in their PJs.    Not as a reward, not because their children "earned it", just because they love them.   How I long to create memories like that!

I admit that too often the "good gifts" I lavish on my children are rewards or bribes.  We have so much fun when we surprise our children with a special trip to get ice cream, to the arcade, to the "donut shop" or on a Daddy date.  The joy and excitement in their eyes is priceless.  And it means so much more when we lavish love on them just because they are our children... not because of something they have done.

I confess that often I am harsh and snap at my children...  You can all gasp now.  Yes...I snap.  Yes... I lose my temper.   Let me share something that happened the other night.  I was busy cleaning up the table, and Charlotte was underneath my feet the entire time.  In a split second we both moved at the same time and I stepped on her little finger with a big leather clog!  And I admit that I did not respond with compassion, sympathy, or tenderness. Rather, my response was "what are you doing?  if you weren't on the floor, you wouldn't have gotten stepped on... everybody out of the kitchen NOW"  
Tell me you've had a moment like that too?

It didn't take long for me to feel terrible about how I had responded.  She is just a little person, whose little finger was in a lot of pain.  And in that moment I missed an opportunity to lavish loving kindness and goodness on her.  Should she have been on the floor right under my feet?  No.   But I should have first comforted her before I corrected her.  

I don't always want to be the "No" mom.  Of course there are SO many times when we need to say no.  But what is it going to hurt them if we let them have ice cream for snack every once in a while... if we let them stay up late to see friends...if we let them plaster our walls with artwork... or destroy the play room by getting EVERY single toy out of its place.  If I stop for a moment and look at the world through their eyes, it helps me to have more kindness and goodness towards them and to enjoy them more.  Life really can be loads of fun...  And life would be more fun if I weren't so uptight about things.   

Isn't God like this? 
He lavishes such good gifts on us.  He does not treat us as we deserve.  He looks at us, and sees His precious children....and despite what we have or haven't done, He overwhelms us with Kindness and Goodness

Do you see the Fruits of the Spirit Building on each other?  If I am Loving God and others well, it leads me to Joy...If I create an environment of Peace in my home and in my heart, I have a much better chance of being Patient.  If I am more Patient, I will be able to live out more Kindness and Goodness. 

I see that Juicy fruit growing more and more, don't you? 

This week I am going to try and overlook the small things and try to practice a little more kindness and goodness with my children... I am going to surprise my kids with something special too.   Like Chocolate milk, or a trip to the donut shop... or maybe a trip to the dollar store (where they can by ANYTHING in the store)

What are you going to do??

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