“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24
My husband and I agree that the two most important things we can teach our children is 1) to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and 2) to have compassion for others. We also agree the the third most important thing to teach them is character. Not just teaching them to be good, but to have a good heart.
I don’t want to focus on teaching my children what they are not supposed to do, but what they are supposed to do.
A fruit of the spirit chart is a nice way to introduce these words. But you don’t NEED a chart to do it-just talking about these words and what they mean with our kids is great. But if you’re feeling crafty, go for it. I used this with my first two children, but not with my last two. With 4 kids in tow I can barely remember to use the bathroom much less give out fruits, BUT we do still write these words on the board and learn what they mean, act out ways to do them-but this time we encourage with words, “I saw you being gentle with your baby brother when you were playing trains.” or “That was very loving of you to get your sister’s water for her.”
When we did the chart, they got fruits to put on the chart when we saw it in their actions. Once a row is filled up, they’ll get a reward. Maybe a few chocolate chips. Maybe a new book.
Here are a few of the ways they earns her fruits or times when we encourage them with our words:
Love: Bringing her brother’s favorite book to him when he is crying (thinking of others), holding her sibling’s hands, kissing her brother’s toe after she runs over it with the riding toy :), being selfless
Joy: Obeying with a joyful heart, saying, “Yes ma’am, I’d be happy to” when I ask her to do something, doing every day things with a joyful heart
Peace: Choosing to be a peacemaker, calmly asking for something rather than whining, peacefully playing with her brother, choosing peace (harmony) even when others do not
Patience: any time she is waiting patiently – to brush her teeth next, for dinner, etc.
Kindness: wanting to make a card for someone, holding a door open for someone, picking up something that someone dropped
Goodness: Being sincere, selfless, honest. Serving others. Saying “thank you for ____” when given something, being helpful without being asked, being well behaved during an outing, sharing toys with friends, asking for forgiveness from someone when she has wronged them.
Gentleness: Sitting beside her brother when he is upset about something, using a gentle voice and gentle touches around her baby sister or another baby, having a tender heart towards someone else
Faithfulness: “Reading” her Bible on her own, praying without being asked or asking me to pray for someone, saying all of her ABC Bible verses.
Self-Control: Asking for the toy back that her brother just jerked away from her (instead of yelling or jerking it back-this is definitely practicing self control!), starting to whine about something but choosing to use big girl words instead, choosing a gentle voice when she is frustrated, choosing not to hit
What’s really beautiful is that when I am looking for ways to reward my child’s character I am amazed at how kind and thoughtful these special little people really are.
And then my friend Erika made a super simple chart (see next picture) and I absolutely love it! All you need is a poster board, marker, and some fruit stickers! Same thing, way less time consuming to make! When it’s all filled up, just make a new one!
“Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
INSTRUCTIONS FOR CHART: Big poster board, drew lines with a sharpie, printed out cute fruits from google and had them and the poster board laminated, velcro dots on to hold them on. BUT-I love my friend’s idea above where she just drew it on and used stickers!