31 Ways For Kids to Show God’s Love
by Traci Little
There is a sweet elderly lady on our street that just had to send her husband to a nursing home. He has dementia and was wandering off.
You can see the sadness in her eyes.
A few nights ago, my children saw her out weeding her garden. They said, “Mommy, we feel so sorry for her; she looks so sad! Can we please go say hello and cheer her up?”
I love these teachable moments where the Holy Spirit grabs a hold of our little ones’ hearts and plants tiny seeds in their souls. It’s those tiny seeds that, over time, will grow mighty with roots that dig down deep into the soil of their hearts.
Psalm 1:1-3 says
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on His law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
Our goal as parents is to raise our children with solid convictions, so that when the temptations come, they have a firm and solid foundation.
Here are 31 ways children can finish off the summer well and give back to others by showing God’s love:
1. Write a letter to a friend and put it in the mailbox.
2. Draw a picture and mail it to your teacher to tell them that you miss them and are thankful for them.
3. Bless the mailman/woman by leaving them a gift and thanking them for their hard work.
4. Do some yard work for a neighbor.
5. Volunteer at a soup kitchen with your family.
6. Organize a toy drive for the children’s wing at your local hospital.
7. Participate in a 5K walk as a family to raise money for cancer or another important cause.
8. Bake cookies for a family at your church you want to encourage.
9. Paint a picture for your grandparents and mail it to them.
10. Help a sibling learn how to read.
11. Make a tutorial video about something you are gifted in.
12. Put together a box full of goodies for a person in the military and mail it to them.
13. Help out with a ministry at church.
14. Get together some neighborhood friends and clean up trash.
15. Make some crazy loom bracelets and raise money for a favorite charity.
16. Make a get well box for someone who is sick.
17. Write out special prayers for children in need.
18. Write thank you cards for your pastor/deacons.
19. Take turns cleaning your siblings’ rooms.
20. Offer to help your parents babysit for another family’s children.
21. Give up all electronics for one day and spend time doing things for others.
22. Go on a local missionary trip as a family.
23. Pay for someone behind you at a drive through. Leave a tract with the cashier to give to them.
24. Start a kindness jar. Place ideas of ways to be kind and take turns picking from the jar and exhibiting those acts of kindness.
25. Invite friends to Vacation Bible School.
26. Bring someone wild flowers to your teacher at church.
27. Listen without interrupting or arguing back.
28. Continue clipping box tops to bring back to school.
29. Write a sidewalk chalk message to a family member to express your love for them.
30. Teach your children to hold the door open for people and praise them when they do.
31. Help your parents make a meal for a family who just had a new baby.
These are just suggestions. Replace any with your own creative ideas that fit your own family dynamic.
One of the biggest struggles our children will face is learning to be content and thankful. If our children can grasp the spiritual discipline of contentment, they will be able to see beyond themselves, and reach out to others.
The book The Blessings Jar is an excellent book about this very topic. One day a little girl named Alexa Grace is having a grumpy day. Her grandmother introduces a blessing jar idea to her. The blessing jar is a way for Alexa Grace to count her blessings by placing them in a jar. Alexa Grace goes on an adventure, looking for all her many blessings. Soon, the jar is overflowing with goodies, and she realizes how truly blessed she is.
Here is our daughter reading The Blessings Jar to her brothers:
Isn’t that the truth? Sometimes we don’t realize how very blessed we are until we look around and count our blessings. Consider getting this book for your own family. Maybe you could create a blessings jar and go on a little adventure of your own? You could even use the above “31 Ways List” and when you do something on this list, write it down and place it in your very own blessings jar! Write a little note on the back of how God blessed you and your children by blessing others.
How do you teach your children to have a heart of compassion for others? Have you been able to witness the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of your kids through reaching out to others? How have you helped your kids to show God’s love?
|Reflections on Dad
by Erin Mohring
Meet Erin Mohring
I’m going to be honest: it’s not easy to get my boys to “reflect” on something. Reflecting requires quiet, stillness, uninterrupted thought… yeah, three boys under the age of eight don’t do much of those things!
With Father’s Day approaching, though, I knew it was important to help them spend some time thinking about the man they call Daddy and just why they love him so much.
We say I love you and go about our days, but the people we love are worth more reflection than just a few simple words. And this is even more significant to me as we raise boys.
They have an amazing, godly father who they love to the moon and back, but I want them to know just exactly what is so special about him, what they can admire and what can inspire them to be men of godly character, and the things that make him the the dad God had in mind for them from the beginning.
If you have boys, you probably know the answers that come first when a boy talks about what he loves about his dad…
“He is the best wrestler!” – Big J, age 8
“I love my daddy because he plays video games with me and I love him.” – Caleb, age 4
“He brings home candy from the hospital for me!” – Little J, age 5
“I love that my dad takes me to the park.” – Joshua, age 10
Sure, these things don’t necessarily require a lot of thought, but you know what they do show me? Boys that know their dads love them because they take the time to do fun things with them and think of them when they aren’t at home.
When my boys gave answers like these, I used to get frustrated because they weren’t really appreciating my husband for his best qualities. But to them, these are the important things. The things that make them feel loved and cherished by their fathers, just as the father does in the sweet book, I Love You All the Same.
As siblings can do, the little ones in this book want to be the best at the same things, but the sweet dad takes the time to share the unique things about each child that makes him love them all the same.
Good dads notice, appreciate, and help foster and connect over the special qualities and interests each child possesses, whether it be music, sports, games, or food!
Some of the deeper things I see my boys appreciate in their daddy aren’t mentioned when I ask them what they love most about him, but are noticed in the way they interact on a daily basis. After my husband had been running for about a year, our oldest asked if he could start running on the treadmill. He always wanted to know how many miles Daddy ran that day and would keep track of his own miles in a notebook. My son might not ever answer that he admires the way his father made his health a priority, but it has definitely been reflected in the way he lives!
Our five-year-old wasn’t sure what I meant when I asked what he admired about Daddy, so I gave him a few examples. After a little while, he came back to me and said, “I want to be smart and hard-working like Daddy when I grow up.” As he is just finishing up his kindergarten year and aiming for his dream to be a veterinarian some day, I love that he sees the value in education and diligence in the example my husband has set for our boys. And I’m hoping some of his diligence wears off on me, too!
And the very best? Seeing my boys pray with and for their dad.
The strongest man is one who knows his strength lies in God, and I love knowing my boys see this relationship with Jesus in my husband. Because of him, they know what a godly man looks like and they have a model of faith to build upon of their own faith.
In a culture that often belittles and ridicules the role of dad, I want my boys to think often of the characteristics that make their dad a godly man, an inspiration in their life, the one they love and are blessed to call Daddy. Let’s help them reflect on these things this Father’s Day and throughout the year!
What are some of your kids’ favorite reflections on dad? We’d love to hear what has come out of your little one’s mouth!
Fear and Love in the Christian Life
It is often said that fear of God has no place in the Christian’s life because of 1 John 4:18.
But there are many commandments to fear in the New Testament; for example,Romans 11:20, “They [the Jews] were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud but fear.” Similarly, Hebrews 3:12 warns against unbelief (although the word “fear” is not used): “Take heed, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil unbelieving heart leading you to fall away from the living God.”
But we shouldn’t get the idea that the writers of the New Testament are opposing one another, as if some are in favor of fear and some against. Here’s the solution: a sober fear of God will motivate us to trust his mercy shown in Christ, and then this “trembling trust” will gradually remove the fear that drove us to it as we see more clearly what our Lord has done for us.
Should fear, then, play a role up to a certain point and never again in the Christian life? The point after which fear will have no proper place in the Christian’s life is the point at which his love is perfected. But none of us is yet perfected in love; none of us is without moments in which his delight in God fades and the “things which are seen” become deceptively attractive.
Therefore, the second line of “Amazing Grace” is not merely a once-for-all experience. It is for our everyday:
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed.
©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Find many other free resources by John Piper at desiringGod.org