All any parent ever really wants is the best that God has for their children.
I have yet to meet a parent that said, “Yeah, I don’t really want my kid to thrive.” It is so natural as a parent to want the best for our kids. But wanting something is totally different than actually having it.
Let’s take a trip down my memory lane….
In 2015 I had a newborn baby with colic, a high energy toddler and a husband working a full time job plus earning his doctoral degree. Add to the list folding the laundry, feeding the dog, filling the grocery cart (it still counts if it’s a digital one! ), buckling children into the torture device that someone decided to call a car seat, losing my mind over perpetually finding the lost sock (I mean seriously, where in the world do all those socks go?), trying to make that meeting I forgot about till last minute, squeezing myself into some type of adult looking clothing, and actually attempting some sort of relationship with my spouse. In the midst of it all I couldn’t shake the question: “Am I doing more damage to my kids than good?” And the only way for me to be able to answer that question is to notice spiritual fruit in their lives .
Three ways to notice spiritual fruit in the midst of the busy are: first, “looking medium”, second, listen with intention and third, ask those you trust.
But first let’s define spiritual fruit…
Spiritual Fruit: What Does That Even Mean?I know what you are thinking: “What the heck does even really mean?”. I mean, it’s not likely that you’re a farmer (or married to one) and have ever had a crop of fruit. And lets please remember that this has to fit in somewhere in between holding them down to brush their teeth and racing them off to school.
The good news is that even if you aren’t a farmer you can still understand the analogy of the good fruit versus bad fruit. You’ve experienced the pleasure of diving into a nice crunchy apple and have likely seen a rotten banana or two. Spiritual fruit though not actual pieces of fruit can either be full and well rounded or lacking and beginning to decay. Galations 5 gives us a picture of 9 specific attributes to look for:
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
Have you ever experienced someone who exudes true gentleness? I know you have encountered someone lacking in patience (if not feel free to look me up, I lack it all the time!). Ever felt the genuine Love from another person?
Here are at 3 ways took notice spiritual fruit in the midst of your busy.
When my husband and I got married and we moved in with each other for the first time, he would often come and ask me where an object could be found. Sometimes he couldn’t find the object because it was genuinely misplaced, but more often than not he would ask me where the object could be found without even bothering to look for it first. This is when we developed the “looking rule” in our house.
The “looking rule” states that before you can come and ask someone where an object can be found you must at least look for it first. In fact you couldn’t just look easy (defined as opening up the box/cabinet/drawer where the object should be found), you must look medium ( at least moving things around within the box/cabinet/drawer) before coming to the other person to ask where something might be.
I know that the concept of looking for spiritual fruit seems too simple of a concept to be even mentioned. But the thing is, often we rely on others to find things for us and we forget to stop and even look for ourselves first. Have you been relying on others to notice spiritual fruit in your life and the life of your family?
When you are in the midst of folding laundry, settling arguments, and driving them from place to place, don’t forget to take a second and actually look for the spiritual fruit in their lives. At first you might be tempted to just take a glance but don’t be afraid to move some stuff around and really see what’s there. Are they patient, kind, good or gentle? Are they demonstrating self-control and love? Remember to look medium.
Listen with Intention
Do you have a problem with tuning out your kids? I know I do! We have a talker. And I mean a TALKER!! Once my son and his good friend were riding in the car together and my son was just chatting away when suddenly the other child called his name loudly and said “You talk too much!” I couldn’t help but grin when he responded, “Yeah, I know.” And then just continued on chatting.
Often, I find myself tuning him out and not really listening to what he has to say. I nod my head yes and no. I make general noises in his direction to make it seem like I’m actually paying attention but, I’m not. I have a thousand other thoughts that are running through my head and often the subjects he spouts on and on about, is just a bunch of nonsense. But is it really?
No, not to him at least. He genuinely believes that his life mission is to be a ninja and that I should know the code of honor that he and his imaginary ninja crew developed. And when I stop to listen carefully I can notice the spiritual fruit in his imaginary stories.
You see, kids don’t live in our world. They live in their own. And in their games are the way they are trying on the rules and lessons they are learning in life. When I listen to my sons code of honor I hear him tell me that his men had to agree to always do the right thing (faithfulness), they have to obey every command that their commander gives them, even if they don’t want to (self-control), they have to destroy all the evil bad guys and protect all humankind (kindness).
You see he is growing in spiritual fruit, but it takes a lot of intentional listening to actually notice the spiritual fruit for what it is. And not the childish non-sense that it seems at first glance.
Ever heard the old adage “If in doubt, just ask.”? This rule is so true in this case. If after looking medium and listening with intention you are still not sure if you notice spiritual fruit, then all you have to do is ask. Ask your friends, your neighbors, your family, or anyone that is close enough and involved enough in your life that can offer feed back on the question “Do you notice Spiritual Fruit in our lives?
But let me throw out a warning before you do this. Don’t do this if you are not willing to accept honest feedback. It might not necessarily be what you want to hear. The answer might sting but accept them with grace and humility. Listen with a heart that says “I really want to move my kids towards the best that God has for them.”
Wanting what’s best for our kids comes naturally. But in the middle of busy, it can be hard to remember to notice spiritual fruit. Let’s take the few moments that it takes to “look medium”, listen with intention, and ask others. It may sound simple. So simple in fact you may be tempted to skip it all together. But, please don’t. You want to know that you are leading your kids toward the best He has for them. You want to be able to confidently say “ I am doing way more good than harm to my kids.”
Put Into Practice
Blaze a new trail and parent well in the middle of busy!
If we haven’t met yet… hi, I’m Emily! Thank you so much for reading. I hope you found this helpful in the middle of your busy. I just wanted to let you know that I post here once a week but my subscribers receive a bonus article sent directly to their inbox each week! If you are interested in bonus material, sign up below!
Know my door (my inbox, rather) is always open if there is something you think I can help with! Also, if you know someone else that gain something by reading this article, please feel free to share it with them ! I would be honored to be a friend helping them while they parent in the middle of busy!