Tuesday, May 17, 2011

:: Gentleness Fruit ::

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control..." - Galatians 5:22-23

Over the past eight months or so, we have been walking through the fruits of the Spirit as a family. We have covered LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS and have recently tackled GENTLENESS.

The thing is, we can't just learn about one and be done with it. These 'fruits' are something we have to practice living out every day. When we begin to move on to a new fruit, we walk through each of them all over again. Our conversation during the day often times comes back to these fruits of the Spirit - in our play, in our discipline, in our adventures, even when we are being silly. Walking through the fruits of the Spirit is such a great tool to remind both kiddos, and myself, that it is because of God's Spirit within us that these 'fruits' are used to the fullest.

Gentleness wasn't a hard concept for my kids to grasp - but putting it into consistent action has been the tricky part. I would think that most parents with toddlers, like me, hear themselves saying "BE GENTLE!" quite often.

When we were writing down our ideas about how to show gentleness to others, Jameson came up with the most simplistic yet applicable definition: "being soft when you want to be hard". Analise added the "in EVERYTHING" to the list.

Here is what they came up with:
I continue to marvel at how readily my kids understand these concepts and I am encouraged to see them putting them into action. When I was trying to take pictures of them with their fruit, Jameson was in a rather cantankerous mood and the following conversation took place:

A: "Jameson, come take a picture with me. Let's be gentle together."
J: "I don't want to take a picture!"
A: "Awww Jame..you need to choose a happy heart. Look at the camera and be loving and kind!"
J: "NO! I don't want to! I want to play baseball!" as he runs off.
I love the look of genuine gentleness that Analise has for her brother. (Please note: It isn't all hugs and kisses around here. These two have their fair amount of non-gentle moments!)

I love watching both of them with younger kids. They love to love on people. They are kind. They are caring, and they are gentle. While Analise tends to err on the gentle side more often, Jameson gets it too. Sometimes all it takes is a little reminder or a question like, "do you remember what it means to have gentleness?"

And they get it.

I can see the wheels turning and their actions changing, and sometimes they will even say it out loud, "It means being soft when you want to be hard!" Yes. Yes it does.


Stephanie said...

"Being soft when you want to be hard." That's the perfect definition for gentleness! I couldn't have said it better myself.

You are raising such smart (and kind) kids, Nini!


Bonnie said...

You're probably one of THE most inspiring Mom's I've ever known Nini. I love that you're teaching your kids this stuff and finding practical definitions & actions that help them understand it. TRULY INSPIRING.
If I can be half the Mom you are, I'd be happy :)