Teaching Kids Gentleness
Seeing the world through the eyes of a child reminds us of the beauty all around us. We have the opportunity to teach our children to be in awe of their Creator and to be gentle with His creation. Creation is the general revelation of God, meaning it is natural evidence of our Creator available to everyone. When we teach kids gentleness let us use the everyday examples in creation we encounter to soften their hearts to the Creator.
We teach kids gentleness by explaining the purpose of creation. In Genesis chapter 1 we read the creation account where God created the entire world and everything within it. When He had finished, God declared His creation “very good” (v. 31). When God created man He commanded, “Be fruitful and multiply… have dominion… over every living thing that moves on the earth… I have given you every plant…for food” (abbreviated verses 28-29). God created this earth to serve man and meet our physical needs. He charged us, then, with caring for and maintaining it. My boys love to go explore in nature. They love using their senses to learn about plants and the elements, but I am constantly reminding them to be gentle. We do not need to swing on all the tree branches or pull off leaves from every bush. When we meet new animals the refrain of “gentle, gentle” is repeated as they pet, prod, and poke the creatures. I remind my boys that God created the world and that He called it good. Because it is good we do not need to unnecessarily distress, damage, or destroy it. We can teach kids gentleness as they learn about the world in natural ways.
We teach kids gentleness by using examples we find in creation. There are gospel messages everywhere if we train our minds to see them. The wind in the trees reminds us that the breath of the Spirit in within us and empowers us (Acts 2:2-4). The rainbow in the sky after a rain calls to mind the faithfulness of the Lord to fulfill His promises (Genesis 9:13). Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” We have wasps all around our home and have displaced multiple nests. While examining the nest and it’s intricate design, my boys and I can discuss this verse and the importance of our thoughts and words. We can discuss the differences in bees and wasps, tasting a little honey for the sweetness and remembering the sting of the wasp and the comparison to harsh words. We see examples of gentleness in all forms of creation. We can teach kids to be gentle in spirit, gentle in endurance, and gentle in speech as we saturate our days and our encounters with nature with the truth of Scripture.
We teach kids gentleness by surrounding them in peace and calm. We quiet their hearts and minds to help them return their focus on God and not on external circumstances. Sunrise and sunset are beautiful reminders of the renewal that comes day by day. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” My boys are also very interested in learning about space. As we observe the daytime and night time sky, what a prime opportunity to give credit to our Father in heaven who created all the wondrous things we see. As we marvel at the beautiful sunset, may we marvel even more at the gentleness of the Sovereign God who set into motion the planet’s rotation and determined the colors seen across the sky. When the skies proclaim God’s majesty and might in raging winds and thunder claps, let us encourage our children to be still before the Lord and feel His presence. We can use the beauty of the skies to showcase the gentleness of the Lord to our children.
Children are not naturally gentle. They must be taught gentleness and care for God’s creation. As we teach kids gentleness let us make good use of creation around us and point out examples of gentleness we see that display the gentleness of its Creator.