Let’s continue our personal check up in our relationships with our children. Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
What does it look like to get dressed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience as preparation to serve your children well?
Compassion is “a sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.” When your child is upset about someone being unkind to him at school, compassion looks like listening to what happened, giving hugs, then teaching your child how to stand up and handle a similar situation next time. It does doesn’t look like taking vengeance on the other child’s parents through gossip at school or teaching your child to be someone easy to bully.
Kindness is doing the right thing out of a heart of tenderness toward someone. When you are editing your daughter’s paper and she uses a word incorrectly because she doesn’t understand its meaning, you give her word options that make more sense in context. You do not make fun of her for using words she doesn’t understand or leave the word so her teacher can be the one to point it out. Kindness is speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Humility is putting others before yourself and thinking correctly about yourself. When it’s been a long day and you come home to your son finishing a school project, humility is asking your son how the project is going and not expecting him to ask you about how your day went. Humility is realizing that your son is more important than your work.
Gentleness is controlled power. When your daughter breaks a glass for the third time this week because she is dancing to her music while she’s doing dishes, gentleness is disciplining her by taking away music during washing dishes for the next 10 days or having her do extra chores to pay to replace the broken glasses. It’s not yelling at her to stop dancing all the time. Gentleness is exhibited in controlling our words, the tone we use, and our physical strength. Words we say can stick with our kids for the rest of their lives, so it’s important to use our words to build them up and teach them instead of belittling them.
Patience is quietly waiting without complaining. One gift of being a parent is the opportunity to learn patience. I remember teaching my children to buckle and unbuckle themselves in the car. Now, THAT’S a laboratory for growing patience! I quickly learned to add an extra five minutes (at least) to our departure time if we were going anywhere with a deadline which took away the temptation to reach into the backseat and do their buckles myself.
What’s a situation you are in with your child that is a great opportunity for you to put on the clothes of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience to serve your children?