Virtues of Work

In Bill Bennett’s book, The Book of Virtues, he lists work as one of the top ten virtues. Most historians agree that Western culture was built on the work ethic. In the family, much work needs to be done. The question is who will do the work and with what attitude? In a healthy family work is seen as an act of love, as something noble and godly.

How do you build this attitude into the hearts of your children? First, by your model. When you say to a child, “I just love making breakfast for you,” you are demonstrating an attitude of service. Second, by celebrating the service that is already being done. Around the table, Johnny says, “one way in which Dad served me today is…” And every one says, “Yeah, Dad.”

What Can I Do To Help?

It is hard to reject sincere acts of service. A young husband once told me that for the first month after the wedding, his wife served him breakfast in bed. He said, “It took me a month to get up the courage to tell her that I don’t eat breakfast.” I did a little research some time ago and found out that not a single wife has ever murdered her husband while he was washing dishes.

What is your attitude toward your spouse?  In the early years of my marriage, I made demands of my wife and gave her harsh words when she did not respond. Later I learned that Jesus had a better plan. He said, “I did not come to be served, but to serve.” When I learned to ask: What can I do to help you? The whole atmosphere of my marriage changed.

Attitude of Service

Slavery is at the heart of dysfunctional families. Service is at the heart of healthy families. Slavery creates anger, bitterness, and resentment. Service stimulates love, and encouragement. Service is freely given, not out of fear, but out of choice. It comes out of the personal discovery that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

In my book, The Family You’ve Always Wanted, I list “an attitude of service” as one of the five fundamentals of a healthy family. The husband serves the wife. She serves him. Together they serve the children. Later, the children learn to serve the parents and each other. Then, the entire family serves people outside the family. Imagine what would happen if service became a way of life in our families.

Serving Children

Parents serve children in a thousand ways. These ‘acts of service’ may be done out of a sense of duty and even resentment. On the other hand, they may be genuine acts of love. Loving service is an internally motivated desire to give one’s energy to serve others. Loving service is a gift, not a necessity, and is done freely, not under coercion.

When parents serve their children with a spirit of resentment and bitterness, a child’s physical needs may be met, but his emotional development will be greatly hampered. Because service is so daily, even the best parents need to stop for an attitude check now and then, to be sure that their acts of service are communicating love.

Age Appropriate

If your child’s love language is acts of service, your acts of service must be age appropriate. You should do for your children what they cannot do for themselves. Making beds for four-year-olds is an act of service, but eight-year-olds are capable of doing that themselves. Children need to learn to operate a washing machine and dryer before they get to college.

As a child gets older, we shift from doing things for them, to teaching them how to do things for themselves. Parents who are too busy to teach children how to do laundry, or too perfectionist to let them do it, are not loving children, but crippling them. It takes more time to teach a child how to prepare a meal than it does to do it yourself, but which is more loving?

Little Love Tanks

Children with full love tanks are more likely to obey parents, help others, and reach their potential in learning. Keeping the love tank full means that we must discover the child’s primary love language and then speak it regularly. The five love languages are:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch

Out of these five, your child has a primary love language. How do you discover it? Three clues:

  1. Observe how they love you.  What they give is probably what they want.
  2. What does your child complain about?  The complaint reveals the love language.
  3. What does your child request most often?  The request gives you valuable information.

For an online quiz to help your child discover their love language, visit the following link: www.5lovelanguages.com/profile

The Two Greatest Commands

Jesus said that the two greatest commands are to love God and love your neighbor. During this week when our society is thinking about Valentine’s Day, what a wonderful time to focus on loving God and your family (who are your closest neighbors). Each day  ask yourself: What can I do today that will express my love to God?

Then, ask the same question about your family. For your wife, you might volunteer to wash the dishes. For your daughter you might purchase a valentines card. For your son you might invest an hour in playing with him. Do something each day this week to express your love to God and your family. This is the Christian lifestyle: Love as a Way of Life.

Service Vocation

Parenting is a service-oriented vocation. The day you decided to have a child, you enrolled for full-time service. Your contract called for a minimum of 18 years of service with an understanding that you would be on ‘active reserve’ for several years after that. For some children ‘acts of service’ is their primary love language. What makes them really feel loved is when you do something for them.

Cooking meals, mending doll dresses, washing clothes, and helping them with their projects are all acts of service. Your primary motivation is not to ‘please’ them, but to love them – to do what is best for them. As you serve them you are also providing a model which they will learn to emulate. You are following the example of Christ.

The Truth About Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s Day. The name comes from two saints in the early church. One St. Valentine was a priest who lived in Rome during the 200’s. He was jailed and later beheaded for aiding persecuted Christians. The other St. Valentine was the bishop of Terni, about 60 miles from Rome. He was beheaded in 273 A.D. for converting a Roman family to Christianity.

If you want to know what Valentine’s Day is all about, it is sharing the good news of Christ, in spite of opposition. It is caring enough to share that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life; that he offers eternal life to all who are willing to accept Him. So, as you give your valentine’s cards, also offer a prayer and seek to plant a seed in the heart of the ones you love.

The Truth About Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine’s Day. The name comes from two saints in the early church. One St. Valentine was a priest who lived in Rome during the 200’s. He was jailed and later beheaded for aiding persecuted Christians. The other St. Valentine was the bishop of Terni, about 60 miles from Rome. He was beheaded in 273 A.D. for converting a Roman family to Christianity.

If you want to know what Valentine’s Day is all about, it is sharing the good news of Christ, in spite of opposition. It is caring enough to share that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life; that he offers eternal life to all who are willing to accept Him. So, as you give your valentine’s cards, also offer a prayer and seek to plant a seed in the heart of the ones you love.