I don’t know about all you mothers out there but in my house with three boys ages 3, 5, and 7, there is more than enough fighting. And well, the bottom line is, I have had just about enough of it.

The hitting and calling names and pinching and pushing and tattling (oh, the tattling!) and just being down right mean to one another. What makes it worse is they don’t even feel bad about it. Absolutely no remorse.

I stand in amazement, thinking to myself, he just injured his brother and he could care less.  And if one of them does acknowledge wrongdoing it is the fastest “I’m sorry” you ever heard with ZERO heartfelt emotion. I know they are boys, but a little compassion please!

THUMP!!!! That was me putting my foot down to all this nonsense.

I have started teaching them one of the greatest commandments and that is to love our neighbor. I began by teaching them that our neighbor is EVERYONE we see (including our siblings). I followed that by teaching them what love is: it is kind and patient and not boastful, it keeps no records of wrong, and so on. Bottom line … love is an action. We show others love by how we treat them.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Of course I asked them, “Do you think you show love to one another?”

(Crickets chirping.) Silence!

So I prodded a little more and finally got a response …

“Sometimes,” my 5-year-old said.

That was all I needed to start the discussion about treating each other with love. We talked about communicating with one another and we shared how we feel when we are hurt by others or called names. It was also good to help them see it from the other’s position—no one likes it when someone else is mean to him or hurts him.

So, it seems to be working.  At least most of the time—they are only 3, 5, and 7. But I am not having to tell them to apologize all the time and that is half of the battle. We have made bookmarks to send to grandparents, we are picking weeds to help Dad with the yard work, and many other things to show people we love them.

I have just seen too many kids these days who don’t care about others and think only of themselves. I want my boys to be strong in character and compassion. I want to train my boys to grow up and make the world a better place simply by showing others love.

I am not a perfect mom but I will never quit striving to teach my boys the treasure there is in thinking of others and showing love through action.

{Editor’s Note: This article was first published on MomLife Today on August 4, 2008.}