I found this post from last year and thought that I would repost it because of its connection to our online book study of Tedd Tripp’s book Shepherding a Child’s Heart. I have found the Fruit of the Spirit to be a wonderful place to begin working on the “why’s” of disobedience.
One of the questions that I get asked a lot is: What are your rules? You know…what are the do’s and don’ts in your home?
Honestly, we don’t really have rules. You will not find a list of “10 rules for the _____ Home” posted anywhere in our house. No list of: Don’t hit. Don’t yell. Don’t bite. Etc, etc.
What you will find on our refrigerator are the nine Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Every discipline goes back to these character traits and the word “respect.” Let me give you some examples:
Yelling at your sister – Love, kindness, gentleness
Jumping on the furniture – self-control, gentleness, respect
Pouting – joy, patience, self-control
Taking off your shoes at the door or putting away your toys – respect, kindness
And the list can go on and on. When the fruit is not shown we ask the kids questions like:
What did you do wrong?
What fruit did you not show?
What fruit should you show?
If the truth be known I am really against a list of rules. Even when I taught in the public school, I did not have a list of classroom rules because there are always exceptions to rules. With the Fruit of the Spirit there is no gray area and the expectations carry over into other peoples’ homes, in restaurants, and at church. There is never an exception to showing love, being patient, and having self-control.
As Tedd Tripp states, telling a child “don’t,” “quit” or “stop” is addressing the what. Channeling the child’s thoughts to the Fruit of the Spirit is looking at the “why.”
For more info, read an earlier post titled Fruit of the Spirit.