Hey y’all! Today I’ve teamed up with one of my favorite bloggers, Jessie, from Her Arms Are Strong! Together we will be sharing 10 gentle parenting lessons from the Bible! Jessie blogs about many of the same topics that you’ll find here on my blog, such as natural living and gentle parenting so we thought we’d be a great team to write a post together! We’ve been chatting about verses from the Bible that teach and inspire us on our gentle parenting journey and we wanted to share our favorites with you guys along with our takeaways from each verse! I’ll be sharing 5 here and you can head to her blog for the other 5. We hope that these verses will be a great inspiration and encouragement to all!
1. Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
This is often referred to as the golden rule! Jesus said that we should treat others how we’d like to be treated. Certainly this applies to everyone, including our enemies, family, friends, strangers, and even our children. I believe everyone, especially babies and children, deserves to be treated with respect no matter what! This is one of the key elements of gentle parenting in my eyes- just treating your kids with respect and having a little compassion and empathy. It goes a long way! When I’m having a rough day, I like to “vent” to a trusted friend, my sister, or to my husband. What if they were to respond by saying “well you don’t always get your way,” “stop whining,” “you’ll live,” or some equally dismissive phrase? I’d feel even worse and they would no longer feel like a safe person for me to talk to in the future. We all want to be empathized with when we have a rough day or when something frustrating happens, so our kids deserve that from us as well. They may get frustrated over something silly to us, but it doesn’t make their feelings any less real to them! It helps to reverse the situation and imagine how you’d like to be treated if you were having those types of emotions yourself. I think this is hard for so many people because kids get upset about different types of things than we do as adults, and we don’t see their issues as a “big deal” enough to offer empathy. But treating them the way we’d like to be treated is so important and helps them to feel like they’re being heard and that their feelings are okay and that they matter. ❤️
2. Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
Parents can be so hypocritical when it comes to acceptable behavior. We often hold our kids to a higher standard than we reach ourselves. We forget that kids don’t have the mental maturity to behave properly all the time. We get frustrated when our children behave like children. They haven’t developed the same impulse control we have as adults. They’re still learning and developing, yet we expect them to have it together. The human brain isn’t finished developing until age 25! Many parents have such high expectations of how a child should behave when it’s actually completely unrealistic developmentally. As adults we too behave worse when we’re tired or hungry or stressed or overwhelmed. This happens to kids too but on a greater level. I’ve shared this quote here before, but it’s just so good I wanted to share it again: “If it’s so hard for us as adults to always remain in control of our emotions, to always respond with kind words and patience, to always hold on to our self-control when we’re tired or frustrated or disappointed or angry, can you imagine how much more difficult it must be for children? Yet we expect them to forgive us when we ‘lose it,’ but punish them when they do the same.” -LR Knost
The first time that quote sank in, my mind was basically blown. Haha it’s just so true. Kids get punished for being human. We all make mistakes and bad choices. We all sin! This isn’t to say we should ignore our children’s’ bad behavior or wrong choices but we do need to put it in perspective and realize that we make a lot of the same mistakes they’re making. We’re imperfect parents raising imperfect children. I’m sure we’ve all witnessed a parent responding to their child’s tantrum with an adult tantrum of their own. Emotions can run high and when that happens it really can be so hard to respond appropriately…For kids and adults. So we shouldn’t hold children to a higher standard than we can reach ourselves, and we should always be working on becoming better people ourselves in addition to helping and guiding our kids to do the same. This also means admitting when we’re wrong and apologizing which sets a great example of maturity and shows children that it’s okay to mess up.
3. Matthew 14:13-14 “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
As humans we all need our time to “recharge!” Even Jesus tried to get away from people to have some alone time. Do you ever just want five minutes to yourself but your kids just follow you? I love this verse because it shows an everyday struggle that so many moms face and it happened to Jesus too! He could have told them he wanted to be alone and to go away but he didn’t. This verse says he had compassion on them and helped them anyway. Compassion! We will never have compassion on the same level as Christ but we can pray for it and strive for it. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t take care of ourselves too if we need some time to recharge, I think that’s super important. But I just love the level of compassion that Jesus shows in this verse, and the situation is so relatable!
4. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
I wrote a post three years ago about this verse and how it is such a great template to help us improve our relationships with others. This verse is like a perfect definition of unconditional love! I wasn’t a mom when I wrote the post, but it works so well when applied to parenthood too! How often are we impatient, unkind, and easily angered as parents? How often do we keep track of our child’s mistakes? This verse can be super convicting but also super helpful as we strive to become better people and better parents to our kids. I use this verse to check myself a lot. When I go through each characteristic of love, there are always several that I know I need to work on
5. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Lastly, I share another of my favorite verses that I’m always using to check myself and try to improve myself. I’m constantly asking God for more fruits of the spirit! Especially patience! 😉 I want to overflow with patience! Some days I do great but other days I’m easily triggered by being tired or hungry (I get “hangry” easily I’m sad to admit! Haha) and lose my patience so I feel like I can always use more. 🙂 But this verse so perfectly sums up the character of Jesus, as well as the qualities I want to have as a mother! They’re all equally important for us to have as parents, but the last one self-control is a big one. I think we all try to control our kids in some ways but really, it’s not our job to control them. We can’t control anyone but ourselves. We can help our kids learn self-control and we can control how WE react and respond to them. It’s such a huge responsibility for us to set a great example of Biblical love and the fruits of the spirit to our children.
All of these verses are incredibly helpful and practical to me and sum up my beliefs on Biblical gentle parenting! I hope you all will be encouraged and inspired by them as well! For five more awesome gentle parenting lessons from the Bible, head on over to Her Arms Are Strong!!