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.

[verse reference=”1 Corinthians 13:4-7″]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.[/verse]

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.}

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Janel Breitenstein says:

    I resonate with this so much, Korie. Teaching compassion is teaching them something unnatural, I'm finding out…(no wonder love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit!).
    FamilyLife has this cool chart called "Wise Words for Moms" that you can hang on your wall like a calendar, with categories of "Child's Behavior", heart probing questions to ask them, what behavior they should "put off" (with Scripture references!), what they should "put on", and more verses. I have it hanging here, but I need to be better about actually using it! And let me know if you learn more about disciplining them in compassion…!

  2. I always get so much out of this blog that you ladies write in. I'm going to see if I can some how get my 12 and 7 y/o to learn compassion and love too. I think we'll pick something once a week to do for someone else. It's a baby step to caring for others at least.

  3. Thanks to all you ladies for encouraging me to be more deliberate about teaching my children. You would think that a homeschool mom of many years would have this down, but I have so much more to learn. I need the encouragement that you offer to keep on keeping on.
    God bless you and each of the women who writes on this blog.

  4. Oy, that sounds like our house! At times… we go through ups and downs. Sometimes our boys can't get enough of each other and other times they are hitting and fighting. As the mom, I have to try and remember if the lines haven't been pushed too far, that they are just little men trying to establish themselves as men. Guys don't think like us girls and though many things are definite no-no's, I have to remember constantly that I can't teach them like I teach my girl. Words hurt just as much as punches quite often and they have to be careful of both of those things. I think a different section of the brain controls that for boys though and its not always easy to teach them! I just pray, pray, pray constantly over them!
    God bless,