A few years ago, I shared my friend Melody's idea for a “Fruit of the Spirit” jar that we used over the summer to help teach our children a small lesson in the fruits of the Sprit each day. At that time all three of my kids (then ages 11, 8 & 4) worked on learning Galatians 5:22:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
Even though my kids have grown quite a bit since then, we still (of course!) have moments where we struggle with discipline. I happened to remember the Fruit Of The Spirit jar again (somewhere it had been stuffed back in a cabinet. . .) so I'm pulling it out again to encourage a little positive behavior in our home.
(PRINT YOUR FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT LABEL HERE)
It (obviously!) is pretty simple to make. I used a mason jar (an empty spaghetti jar would work too), some clearance Easter jelly beans (I really liked the idea of using Runts since they’re shaped in fruit shapes – you can pick those up at the Dollar Tree!) and labeled the jar with the verse.
Our original Fruit of the Spirit jar from 2011. Any mason jar and jelly beans will do!
I try to keep my ears alert for moments when they model the fruit of the spirit. If Jackson does something sweet for one of his sisters, I’ll ask which fruit he’s displaying and he picks a candy from the jar. (Folks, even at just-turned-15-yesterday, candy is highly motivating.) 🙂 If Caroline manages to show patience when she really just wants to hurry, she’ll choose a treat. And, when Reagan manages to make it down the stairs for school without any griping or complaining, she might get a treat too. I also ask them to share again what the fruits of the spirit are before they get their treat.
I am simply amazed at how much more effective positive motivators work in our home, compared to all my efforts at hollering, griping, and whining-to-the-point-of-exhaustion to encourage my children. Yesterday my daughter was so pleased with herself when she earned a fruit of the Spirit for helping make my bed without being asked. . . because that one definitely exemplified some goodness on her part, and made me much kinder to boot!
If you've been looking for a way to positively encourage your kids as well as teach them the values of the Fruits of the Spirit, take a peek at how we set up our Fruit of the Spirit Jar to work in our home. I'd love to hear what other tips you have on teaching biblical principals as well as encouraging good behavior in your kiddos, as summer is just a few weeks away and I have a feeling I'm going to have to be on top of this one again this year!
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