Developing The Fruit Of The Spirit In Your Child

Day 1 of 9 • This day’s reading



By Lisa Lakey

Not too long ago, my five-year-old, Max, wasn’t too happy with me. After a poor behavior choice, I had sent him to his room for a timeout. Angry, he said to me, “I don’t love you.” Perhaps if he was my first child, I would have been more hurt by this statement. I told him I was sorry to hear that, but I still loved him just as much as ever. 

It’s easy for small children to mistake liking and loving—we use the word for everything from our family to a steak dinner. Because of that, love becomes a vague concept in the mind of a child. Thankfully, God gave us a good definition of genuine love, and it isn’t a fleeting emotion. In 1 Corinthians 13, we’re told love is patient, kind, not envious or boastful or arrogant. It is not rude, self-seeking, irritable, or resentful. And most importantly, it tells us love never ends (4–8).

Here are a few suggestions for helping your children to not only understand what love is but what real love looks like.

Read them stories of love from the Bible. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Who better to learn about love than from our loving Father? The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37) and the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1–10) are both great options to teach your kids about reaching out to love others—even those who seem unlovable.

Serve alongside them. Don’t just tell kids about love; show them how. Put love into action as Jesus did. Feed the hungry, clothe the needy, and invite the lonely into your home. When kids are taught to love through service, it reminds them love sticks around even when the feeling of “like” fades.

Make them feel loved. Wrap your arms around them in a hug or even high-five them in the hall. Through your actions and words, convey your love for them. Let them know in plain terms that you love them no matter what, and you are thankful for them. Kids who are confident in their parents’ love will find it easier to show love to others. 

To learn more about teaching your kids to be loving read, “Teaching Kids the Difference Between Discernment and Being Judgmental” on