Praying Character Traits for Your Kids: Kindness

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A friend of mine says that we are imperfect people trying to raise perfect kids.

When I get hung up on the imperfections that I see in myself and in my children, it helps to commit those areas of weakness to prayer.

An attribute I like to pray for in my children is kindness (thoughtfulness arising from love).  It’s simply not enough for me to tell my children that they have to be nice or that they have to share. They need to see what that actually looks like in everyday life.

Each morning on the way to school, when we pray for our day, I illustrate examples so my children can hear ways of how they can give in their own school community and we talk about their ideas. I will pray that they would have an awareness of others and look for situations where they can help another classmate with a project he is struggling with, let someone from behind go ahead of them in line, pick up something that someone else dropped, keep a child company who is playing alone and/or ask the teacher, “what can I do to help?”  I can pray for more than a willingness to serve but a true desire to want to–even if it means they have to sacrifice their own needs for someone else’s. Helping doesn’t have to be a chore or a feelingless act but can bring genuine joy to the giver. There are loads of opportunities to do so, and sometimes our kids just need scenarios described so they can recognize the possibilities in their own world.  Of course, volunteering and serving is another powerful way to model kindness.

A guided prayer on this trait comes from the book, While They Were Sleeping, by Anne Arkins and Gary Harrell:

“Father, may _________ be willing to give of himself to help a person in need. May _________ not only see the needs of others but act upon those needs in a sacrificial way. Deliver ___________ from holding too tightly to his own possessions. Give him a willingness to share with others the resources he has.”

So the next time you see a trait or tendency that may need further development, try committing it to prayer and see what God does. He may just bring forth loads of opportunities to practice and “perfect” the very thing you’d like to see take root in your child.

Scripture References:

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers…Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

“He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.” (Proverbs 14:21)

 

A Loyal Friend

THE FRIEND WHO JUST STANDS BY,  Unknown

When troubles come your soul to try,

You love the friend who just stands by.

Perhaps there’s nothing he can do,

The thing is strictly up to you.

For there are troubles all your own,

And paths the soul must tread alone.

Times when love can’t smooth the road,

Nor friendship lift the heavy load.

But just to feel you have a friend,

Who will stand by until the end.

Whose sympathy through all endures,

Whose warm handclasp is always yours.

It helps somehow to pull you through,

Although there’s nothing he can do.

And so with fervent heart we cry,

God Bless the friend who just stands by.


Who Wants to Sleep When it’s Summertime?

BED IN SUMMER, By Robert Louis Stevenson

In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer, quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.

 

I have to go to bed and see

The birds still hopping on the tree,

Or hear the grown-up peoples’ feet

Still going past me in the street.

 

And does it not seem hard to you,

When all the sky is clear and blue,

And I should like so much to play,

To have to go to bed by day?

 

An Ocean Escape

Sea Joy, By Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy

When I go down by the sandy shore

I can think of nothing I want more

Than to live by the booming blue sea

As the seagulls flutter round about me

 

I can run about–when the tide is out

With the wind and the sand and the sea all about

And the seagulls are swirling and diving for fish

Oh-to live by the sea is my only wish.

 

An Adventure for Three Ponies

THREE PONIES, By Arthur Guiterman

Three little ponies who didn’t like their hay

Said to each other “Let’s run away!”

Said the first “I will canter!”

Said the second “I will trot!”

Said the third “I will run if it’s not too hot!”

And they all started off

With their tails in the air.

But they couldn’t jump the fence

So they’re all still there.

Encouraging Independence or Dependence? Wall Street Journal Piece

http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052702304450004577277482565674646-lMyQjAxMTAyMDEwMzExNDMyWj.html?mod=wsj_share_email#printMode

 

No Regrets

WOULDA-COULDA-SHOULDA

Shel Silverstein

All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas

Layin’ in the sun,

Talkin’ bout the things

They woulda-coulda-shoulda done…

But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas

All ran away and hid

From one little DID.

The Little Turtle

The Little Turtle, By Vachel Lindsay

There was a little turtle.

He lived in a box.

He swam in a puddle.

He climbed on the rocks.

 

He snapped at a mosquito.

He snapped at a flea.

He snapped at a minnow.

And he snapped at me.

 

He caught the mosquito.

He caught the flea.

He caught the minnow.

But he didn’t catch me.

 

 

In the Middle Works Great, Too

HALFWAY DOWN, By A.A. Milne

Halfway down the stairs

Is a stair

Where I sit.

There isn’t any

Other Stair

Quite like

It.

I’m not at the bottom,

I’m not at the top;

So this is the stair

Where

I always

Stop.

Halfway up the stairs

Isn’t up,

And it isn’t down.

It isn’t in the nursery,

It isn’t in the town.

And all sorts of  funny thoughts

Run round my head:

“It isn’t really

Anywhere!

It’s somewhere else

Instead!”

 

Happy Saturday to You and Your Kids

SICK, By Shel Silverstein

“I cannot go to school today,” said little Peggy Ann McKay. “I have the measles and the mumps, a gash, a rash and purple bumps. My mouth is wet, my throat is dry, I’m going blind in my right eye. My tonsils are as big as rocks, I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox and there’s one more–that’s seventeen, and don’t you think my face looks green? My leg is cut, my eyes are blue–it might be instamatic flu. I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke, I’m sure that my left leg is broke–

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my hip hurts when I move my chin, my belly button’s caving in, my back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained, my ‘pendix pains each time it rains. My nose is cold, my toes are numb, I have a sliver in my thumb. My neck is stiff, my voice is weak, I hardly whisper when I speak. My tongue is filling up my mouth, I think my hair is falling out. My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight, my temperature is one-o-eight. My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear, there is a hole inside my ear. I have a hangnail, and my heart is–what? What’s that? What’s that you say? You say today is Saturday? G’bye, I’m going out to play!”