We have now completed our first week in our whole "Fruits of the Spirit" theme our family has going on this summer. We had some great discussion and activities, along with some... unexpected social consequences.
The first fruit listed is "Love," fortunately a pretty straightforward concept for our little ones- I'm still not sure what I'm going to do about the rather vague notion of "Goodness." I'm sure God had us in mind when he was setting down an order for the fruits. Because, you know, it's all about us.
We started by defining love as best we could, and that first day we talked about expressing love within our home. At the supper table that evening, we went around the table, each family member telling one thing they loved about each person. Adelaide's were pretty well-thought-out; Atticus said, "I love Caedmon because he's sticky." I'm not always sure that I'm getting through to that boy.
Next, we talked about showing love to family and friends outside of our family. Each kid colored several pictures, and we mailed them off to various family members. The day after that, we talked about ways to love strangers and the world at large. We acted out skits that put the kiddos in different social settings; in one they were diners at a restaurant and I was the waitress, in another we were in a busy grocery store, in yet another we were on a playground with some difficult children.
They also colored various worksheets I printed for them depicting biblical scenes of loving your neighbor, and we brainstormed some ideas of things to do that would show love to people this summer.
Adelaide soaked it all up, Caedmon was just happy to be included, and Atticus participated better on some days than on others. I really didn't know how much he was taking away from all our lessons until this morning, as we were walking into the public library. There was a lady walking down the sidewalk toward us, also about to approach the front door. Atticus darted in front of all of us, opened the heavy front door for her to walk through, then turned around to look at her while holding the door open, beaming.
She sailed through without so much as looking at him.
This did not fit in with our teaching from last week, and he let me know.
"Hey! HEY! THAT LADY DIDN'T SAY 'THANK YOU'! THAT'S NOT VERY POLITE OR LOVING!"
She never did turn around, although several other patrons sure did.
I would have scolded him for yelling in the library, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. How many times have I done the exact same thing, and it was all I could do not to give a snide, "You're welcome!" when the other person didn't so much as acknowledge my presence, let alone express their thanks. Common courtesy, manners, and politeness were a big part of our lesson in loving people in our everyday lives last week, just because I feel like a kind word to a complete stranger can go a long way.
This week's lesson is "Peace." I'm still trying to figure out exactly how I'm going to convey this fruit to our kiddos, as well as how Atticus will use it to further ostracize our family in public.
I'm actually really looking forward to it.