Character Notes - Love

Working on the character trait of Love is of primary importance based on the greatest commandment. Jesus commanded that we are to Love the Lord our God, with all our heart and to Love one another as ourselves.

Giving to others without expecting a reward

Links within this page:

What is love – a poem written by the Letchford children
Love is a Starting point – Love deals with many issues in our children’s lives
What Would Jesus Do - Use the popular WWJD as a catch phrase
Love is a Doing Word - We must put our love into action
Secret Acts of Love - Get your family doing Love
Keeping Love in Balance - No trait stands on its own

What is Love?

When we studied the character trait Love, many years ago our children wrote this poem, based on other similar poems found in Character First.

I will love other people
Just as Jesus has loved me
I will give to those around me
With a heart that is free.

I will not rejoice when others fail
I will meet the needs of others
I will look to Jesus – my example
Show Him to my sisters and brothers.

Loves is a Starting Point

When we teach our children to Love we cut through their selfish natures right at the core and we deal with many issues in their life all at once. In young families especially there is so many heart issues to deal with, and we can guarantee it, that each child will be dealing with something different than his sibling! When we focus on Love we get to the root of their hearts, the root of each child’s heart. Love is that powerful.

When we teach our children to Love according to the Scriptures we teach them that

  • throwing a wobbly, isn’t patient, therefore isn’t being Loving
  • hitting someone, isn’t kind, therefore isn’t being Loving
  • wanting what someone else has, is envious, therefore isn’t being Loving
  • spitting food, is rude, therefore isn’t being Loving
  • pushing and interrupting, is self-seeking, therefore isn’t being Loving
  • getting angry, isn’t being Loving
  • telling tales, is not protecting, therefore isn’t being Loving
  • and the list could go on….
I encourage you to memorise 1 Cor 13:4-7 and use this as the standard you expect of your children.

What Would Jesus Do – WWJD

Did you know that this very popular acronym, WWJD, began with a novel? Charles M.Sheldon wrote a book called In His Steps where the minister of the local congregation asks for volunteers to commit themselves for an entire year to not do anything without asking the question, “What would Jesus Do.” The story tells of the impact this commitment makes on influential people in town.

Due to the What would Jesus Do question becoming so popular the book has been reprinted under that title. I encourage you to read it, get your teens to read it. It is a great story with a powerful message.

We also found a children’s version of this story, What Would Jesus Do, revised by Helen Haidle which introduced the concept to our younger children.

Even without reading these books, it is a compelling question to ask our children when they are faced with that internal struggle of being selfish or showing love. As they answer this question, for themselves, about their own actions, their character will be further developed.

But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

This is a powerful reminder when we are struggling with loving the unlovable person (child, sibling, friend, neighbour, politician). Jesus is our example and he loved us while we still hated Him. This is the message of the Gospel. He loved us and we need to love others.

Love is a doing word

We need to be challenged, and we need to challenge our children, that we say we love but are we doing anything.

Love one another

The Bible uses this term many times. Become familiar with this passage and you will begin to see many ways of showing love in your family. For example
  • greet one another
  • serve one another
  • encourage one another
  • pray for one another

Secret Acts of Love

When things are getting a little self-centered around here we introduce Secret Acts of Love. Just like Secret Angels I encourage my children to do something to show love to a family member, without the recipient knowing who did it. This helps them to focus on another person’s needs, but most importantly, the secret part, is to teach them to give freely without expecting a reward, to give from their hearts not their selfish desires. I purposefully use the words Secret Acts of Love as it gives me another opportunity to elevate Love in their lives.

We have times of Secret Acts of Love as a family, to lift the family focus but it is also something I will challenge / direct an individual child to work with for a time if they are struggling themselves with selfishness. When I work with one child they are required to come to me and tell me what they've done for their sibling.

Keeping Love in balance with other Character Traits

Though Love is a foundational trait to have in our lives, no one character ever over-rides another truth.

Love and Truthfulness – We don’t show love by covering up lies.Love and Thriftiness – We don’t show love by buying gifts outside of our budgetLove and Thoroughness – We need to balance getting the task done with the preciousness of the people around us.

Live life with your kids!

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