“You can go first. You’re my guest.”
“Mom, I’ll take care of Daniel so you can rest a little while.”
“Dad, I made a snack for you. Sit down and I’ll serve you.”
These are comments my girls made at times that revealed their kindness and attitude of service. It warmed my heart each time they displayed any aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit. My husband and I tried to be intentional in parenting and Christ-like to influence our daughters.
Our girls, Rebecca and Darlene, had different personalities and interests. Darlene, our younger daughter, loved to sing and dance around the house, spreading joy. Rebecca liked to make things for friends and cook. We encouraged each girl’s bent.
To nurture the Fruit of the Spirit, it starts with us as parents and how we treat each other. My husband, Jim, and I agreed we would honor and respect one another even when one of us was absent. That meant not putting down our spouse to anyone but praising our loved one instead. If one of our girls made a negative comment about my husband, then I stopped her and reminded her she was speaking about my husband and her father and I loved him too much to hear those comments. Jim did the same thing.
We also took the time to plan and discuss our parenting. Once a month Jim and I held a pray and plan. We sat at a table with our calendars and Bibles. We each circled on our own calendar our spouse’s busiest or toughest days. That way we’d pray and be prepared to be extra kind to each other on our tiring days.
We discussed each child and focused on two areas for each child. We noted one area where that child had improved or excelled so that we could give praise in the coming month. We also noted one area where each child needed to improve. We chatted about ideas to encourage positive change. That month we focused on the area of need and made sure to praise the positive area. Our meeting included making family plans, checking our finances, and discussing other topics as well as praying together for God’s direction for our family. The meetings kept us intentionally focused on our family and helped us shape our future.
Nurture Your Daughters
When we noticed Rebecca being a little bossy we suggested she invite friends over for an “I care about you party.” We had her list at least three things to do to show she cared for her friends and wanted to put them first. We refreshed her on manners and letting guests have the first choice of snacks. We prayed before the party and asked God to help Rebecca be kind and loving and for her friends to have a great time. After the party, she noted she had more fun when she was being kind to her friends.
For Darlene, one time we wanted to encourage service and being helpful. She had a tendency to want things and not consider the needs of others. We had a giveaway week where she went through her belongings and filled a few bags with things to give away. She let friends choose items and gave the rest to a shelter. As a family, we made sandwiches for the homeless and prayed for the people who would receive them.
Intentional parenting also means we take the time to observe our daughters and catch them doing something praise-worthy. It’s fun to gather at dinner and say, “I saw Rebecca putting away her laundry without any reminder.” Or “It was great to see Darlene outside playing with neighbors and helping the younger children.”
A Look at American Heritage Girl Ciera Bowman
American Heritage Girls promotes the Fruit of the Spirit through its Program and Badges. It’s great to watch a group of girls grow and develop the character traits of the Fruit of the Spirit. AHG Girl Ciera Bowman from Troop FL0031 is a perfect example. Her leader, Natalie Martin, rejoices that Ciera and other girls in her Troop display the Fruit of the Spirit. Her mother notes that Ciera’s experience with AHG nurtures her spiritual and character growth because people who love God surround Ciera and every Badge includes something godly.
This happy, energetic fifth-grader enjoys the AHG Program, learning social skills and proper etiquette, in addition to acquiring the Sign Language, Horsemanship, Cinematography, Physical Fitness, and All God’s Children Badges. When she sees other girls being kind, she is inspired her to be kind too. She enjoys service projects the Troop did, including sending items to members of the U.S. Army and giving gifts to needy children. AHG helps her grow and has taught her that actions speak louder than words and to remember to use wisdom to control her tongue. Her mom encourages Ciera to read the Bible daily and put God’s word into action and nurture’s her daughter’s growth with words of affirmation.
Promote the Fruit of the Spirit in Girls
A great aspect of American Heritage Girls is the hands-on activities. Actions reinforce concepts and provide opportunities to have fun together and chat. Apply that idea to developing your child’s character.
- Love as one aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit reflects Jesus’ command to love one another and to serve others. Develop your daughter’s servant heart with opportunities to serve others. Give her a bead to add to a necklace string for each day she shows love. She can see how quickly the necklace grows and wear it as a reminder to love others.
- Inspire joy with singing praises, dancing, and creative art fun. Promote a sense of service by joining in with your daughter’s Troop’s service projects, volunteering at your church, and helping neighbors.
- Nurture peace by speaking softly at home, sitting down and calmly discussing disagreements, and listening to one another. Plant some seeds and watch them grow. Discuss how we plant seeds of peace when we smile, do acts of kindness, and listen. You’ll also nurture patience while waiting for seeds to sprout.
- Cultivate kindness with making friendship and get well cards together that she can send to pals or loved ones.
- Goodness, of a young lady of noble character, is a delight. Encourage goodness (uprightness or purity of heart) with praising selfless acts and wise choices. Help them learn to focus on others by praising friends, forgiving anyone who hurts them, and praying for needs of friends.
- Encourage faithfulness by praying together and making a family prayer journal to write in prayer needs. Later, add in notes about how God responded to the prayers.
- Foster gentleness with taking the time to rub lotion on your daughter’s hands and discuss how we can use touch to express love. Provide opportunities to care for pets or help younger children where your daughter can exercise gentleness. Help her learn to use gentle words. Show compassion in your conversations.
- Teach her self-control by keeping your own emotions under control and giving her tools that help her cope with anger, jealousy, and disappointment. Make a chart with rules and consequences. This can include chores as well as reactions to anger. Set consequences for obeying as well as disobeying. Check the chart each day to see how things went.
Celebrate The Fruit of the Spirit
Commemorate steps and celebrate success. Hold a tea party. You can do this to launch new ideas on growing the Fruit of the Spirit and others to cheer your daughter onward as she improves and achieves goals. Make or buy special treats for the teatime. My daughters loved tea parties at any age. They also liked inviting friends and their moms over for a tea party. Dress up or have a casual time on a patio. It’s special just because you take the time to be together in a relaxing setting. Make a point to express the fruit you’ve seen in your daughter’s life. Take photos, be generous with hugs, and tell her you’re proud that her actions show she is a true daughter of God, the King.
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Raising a Young Modern Day Princess