Teaching Children about Genuine Love
The best way to teach our children about genuine love is to model it for them. Parents are the primary influence for their children in all matters of life, so the example you set of how to treat others says more than words ever will.
However, children also need direct instruction in this area. Here are some practical ways to teach kids the character qualities found in healthy relationships:
Kindness. The Bible talks about this attribute as a vital part of genuine love. Share with children that 1 Corinthians 13:4 reminds us that “love is kind,” and Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times.” Tell children that sharing and taking turns demonstrates kindness. Also, remind them of this character quality when you encourage them to use pleasant words and gentle hands.
Trustworthiness. Throughout Scripture, we are admonished to tell the truth and be dependable. Consider 1 Corinthians 13, which says, “Love…rejoices with the truth” (v. 6) and “Love never fails” (v. 8). These verses are easy for children to understand and memorize. Explain to your kids that keeping our promises shows people that they can depend on our word. As a result, those relationships grow stronger because others learn they can trust us. Tell them how much you want them to be reliable people, especially as they relate to their friends. Remind them that God is our ultimate model of a trustworthy, loving Friend (See 1 John 4:8).
Helpfulness. In its most basic definition, helpfulness is simply meeting the needs of others around us. A good verse to share with children is Galatians 5:13, which says, “Through love serve one another.” You can begin teaching this mindset early as you instruct your child to pick up their toys, place dirty clothing in the clothes hamper, and set the table. As your kids mature, show them opportunities for helping those outside the walls of your house. You may encourage them to assist neighbors with yard work, gather mail or newspapers when they’re out of town, and do other gracious acts. Helpfulness is a great way to show genuine love to those around us!
Sincere love for others is so important in the Christian life that the apostle John wrote, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8). God has entrusted parents with the incredible task of teaching children how to love others. Model Christ-like love and deliberately instruct your children in this area, and they will grow up knowing how to give and receive genuine love.
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