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Father Time Blog

Welcome to Father Time Blog. This is a collection of questions and answers that have come during our conferences this past 15 years of travel, preaching and coaching. If you have subjects you would like to have included please email me at: fathers@mac.com. We are committed to praying and seeing your family healthy, growing and full of love.

What Are You Teaching Your Kids About Love?

This month I've asked my assistant Mary to share with you her experience of sharing God's love with her foster kids. I know you won't be disappointed!  -- Ed

 

"Either way, Christ's love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life." 2 Corinthians 5:14

When my husband and I agreed to take in 3 boys through the foster care system (ages 5, 6 & 10) from one of the roughest parts of LA, we were looking for an opportunity to share the love God has given us... not necessarily for an opportunity for God's love to control us.

For Valentine's Day, I thought I might take the month of February to talk to the kids about God's love. I designed a heart mobile (details below if you'd like to try it with your kids) that hangs from our dining room chandelier to teach the kids the different descriptions of God's love found in 1 Corinthians 13. The first couplet alone, "Love is patient, Love is kind" had me impatiently handing out consequences with a rather menacing tone.

The following night brought out even more bad behavior... from both myself and the kids. It was a failure of epic proportions.

In a conversation later that evening with my husband I asked, "How in the world am I supposed to teach these kids about God's love if I can't even get through the first two descriptions without proving myself the worst of all sinners and a massive failure?!" He simply said, "Humility".

His profound response got me thinking about humility and what that looks like when we're working with our kids:

1. I can't show or teach God's love. It's more something I'm constantly learning and experiencing in front of them. It's a position of humility more than a question of semantics. In my own strength, I will fail every time. It's not enough to show my kids God's love - it must control me. As John the Baptist said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30 ESV)

2. As much as I hate to admit it, my kids seem to learn more about God's love in my 'epic fail' moments as a parent than they do any other time. News flash: We don't always get it right. In fact, my God Is Love Project seems to be proving I get it wrong more often than not. But perhaps this was what James was talking about when he said, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." (James 1:2-3) Each trial or failure with our kids is a beautiful opportunity to show God's story of love, forgiveness, grace, faithfulness and redemption all over again.

3. In positioning myself in a posture of humility - as one who is also learning and experiencing God's love - I create a place for my kids and I to connect. When we are tempted to push our kids away because of their behavior, that is usually the time we need to draw them into a deeper fellowship with both ourselves and their Savior. We connect with our kids as we enter TOGETHER the throne room of grace at the foot of the cross.

We can only 'testify' to our children of the love that we've personally received ourselves. Are you easily angered? Irritable? Jealous? Keeping an account of wrong doing? Maybe it's time for a heart-check this Valentine's Day: What Are You Teaching Your Kids About God's Love?

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends."

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Controlled by His love,

Mary

 

COACHING TIPS & DETAILS ON A SIMPLE VALENTINE'S DAY PROJECT WITH YOUR KIDS BELOW!!

 

GOD IS LOVE
A project for Valentine's Day

Supplies Needed: Construction paper, scissors, sharpie pen (or marker), string (or thread, etc), your bible and a hole punch

1. Cut out at least 16 hearts from your construction paper. I used red and pink paper and made my hearts different sizes. To save time you can purchase a heart cutting stamp at most craft stores (ie. Michaels Craft Store), or download a heart shape off the internet and trace it on your paper.

2. Write one phase from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 on each heart. For example, on your first heart write "Love is" and on the back of that same heart, write "PATIENT". On the next heart, "Love is" and on the back write, "KIND". The next heart would say, "Love does not"... and so on.

3. Punch a hole in the corner of your heart, and using string, hang it up! We've hung our hearts from the chandelier in our dining room, because we talk about it and hang a few hearts each night after dinner. So our project looks a bit like a heart mobile. But it would also work as a garland hanging from your fire place or over a window!

4. Talk about it!! It took our kids awhile to work through the different definitions. For example, they always think of 'patient' as meaning 'waiting'. Probably because I tell them to be patient all the time!! Haha. But the word here really conveys a sense of "I will remain calm with you." If you need help, I found a simple book online called, "I Love You" that clearly explains the meaning of 1 Cor. 13:4-8 for kids.

CONNECTING ON VALENTINE'S DAY

Valentine's Day is the perfect time to connect or reconnect with your spouse and your kids. The stores are full of cards and silly gifts, which sometimes, along with a few heartfelt words of humility or perhaps a heartfelt apology, or heartfelt gratitude is all it takes to break down a wall and begin again.

1. For Your Spouse
Don't waste this opportunity to tell your spouse what you love about them. It might be an overdone holiday based on commercialism, but for you it's an opportunity!! **A note to the wives: As a new mom this year - I'M EXHAUSTED!!! I actually need a date and a little TLC from my husband to get out of my "mom" mode!! Rather than making your husband guess - most men I've met appreciate when their wives kindly let them know what they are needing - it gives your man a chance to win.

2. For Your Kids
What my kids really want is candy and what I really want for them is a breakthrough!! But I'm going to go for the happy medium of giving them small gifts of candy AND telling them what I love about them.

3. For Your Broken or Hurting Relationships
I cannot say enough about the power of the written or spoken word. When we are willing to humble ourselves and go to those we've hurt, or to those who have hurt us and still be a testimony of God's love to them - that's the loudest language of all.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Leading Your Family Through Hard Times
When Every Day Is Father's Day

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