I desire for my children to be kind.
They know this.
We talk about it and I pray it for them.
Honestly, the report I most enjoy hearing from school about my girls is that they are kind to others, helpful in class and protective of each other. This gives me greater pleasure than straight A’s, athletic abilities, or any other accomplishment they could achieve. I want them to be kind.
But, sadly, they are not always kind.
As I observed my daughter enjoying a day at a water park with her two closest friends for her birthday, I noticed one friend always seemed to be trailing behind the other two. Three children playing together can be a bit dangerous and there is the potential for one to feel left out. It made me sad to watch this sweet girl trailing behind my daughter and her other friend, somehow always left out of their conversation. I knew my daughter wasn’t doing it on purpose, she loves this friend, but she was so caught up in her own excitement that, in her selfishness, she had lost sight of how her actions might be hurtful to her friend.
So, I watched my daughter excitedly walk from one water slide to another talking a mile a minute with one friend while the other little girl consistently lagged behind. My instinct was to call my daughter right over and talk to her about it, bring rightness and equality to the situation. Correct her.
It was not the place or the time.
Every problem cannot be solved at just that instant.
The truth is, there is a deeper problem at work here than just leaving out a friend. My daughter’s heart is the problem. Instead of hauling her off the water rides and guilting her into being kinder to her friends, I know I must pray and wait for a time to talk her about this, and in the meantime let the Spirit work before me.
I Want My Children to Be Kind
However, kindness towards others is not natural to us.
It is a rare individual who considers others better than herself without the Spirit of God working in her heart. I’m not sure that individual even exists. Even as adults, like the apostle Paul, we are in a constant battle with our flesh…
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” – Romans 7:15 (NIV)
Expressions of love and selflessness toward others will only ever be a work of God in our hearts.
I will continue to instruct my children to be kind, and also pray for them in this. But I realize that I must regularly be in prayer for the overall spiritual condition of their hearts. I pray that their little hearts will be soft toward the working of the Holy Spirit–so that their actions toward others will be a reflection not of themselves, but of the work of God in their lives.
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