I love the Bradleys. I don't know them very well, really, though I sure would like to get to know them better. I have listened to many, many hand-me-down audio tapes from church services and seminars given by Beverley or Reb Bradley, and have been quite impressed. Last week, we visited the church the Bradleys attend, Capital City Church International, and the Bradleys were sweet as pie and hospitable as could be. A few good gal friends know Beverley very well, and say that what you see is what you get — she is who she comes across as during seminars. Overall, I find this couple to be real, humble, and filled with spiritual wisdom and insight.
WHAT ARE SOME PRACTICAL TIPS FOR RAISING LOVING CHILDREN?
From the time they are born, we must elevate love as their life purpose.
1. Emphasize to them throughout their day that loving and serving others is our supreme goal. Evaluate all their social and moral decisions from the standpoint of love.
2. Make frequent opportunities for the family to serve others, ie: looking after widows or single moms, visiting convalescent hospitals, volunteering at the local Crisis Pregnancy Center, etc.
3. Encourage the children to surprise their siblings by secretly serving them, ie: doing their chores for them, making their beds, etc.
4. Make the absence of love the issue of every childish dispute. When children are in conflict do not just rebuke them for fighting, but admonish them for not loving. Don’t ask them “Who started it?” Ask them each how have they failed to love the other.
5. Frequently fill their hearts with your loving affection. Since a fresh dose of God’s love fills the heart of a new believer with love for others (I John 4:9) consider that bickering children may respond powerfully to a moment of strong fatherly affection, ie: a group hug which does not end until the little ones are laughing and affectionate.
6. Pray with them about it, but don’t wait until they are mad at their siblings. Every time you pray, including bedtime and meals, ask God to show them creative ways to love others.
7. Read story books or make up bedtime stories about children who are kind and compassionate servants.
8. Give them greater affirmation when you see them love and serve than when they hit a homerun. When they love and serve, allow them to hear you brag to others about it.
9. Do not permit ANY unkind words in your family, ie: no derogatory names, no making fun, no teasing, or belittling of any kind.
10. Model service and kind speech in your marriage. Many have said that the best way for children to learn to love is to be around two parents loving each other.
Excellent list, isn't it? Of course, easier said than done! May the Peace of God abound in your home, neighborhood, and very lives (and ours, too!).