Raising Kind Kids

Sarah Damaska

I consider myself a fairly good driver, but when I’m in the school pick-up line, strange things happen. I’ve been cut off, flipped off, honked at and shot dirty looks. The pick-up line reminds me that our world is stressed out, with very little patience for anything that gets in our way.

I want to raise kind kids. I want them to be respectful, helpful and unoffended. I’m guessing you do too. On the best of days, it seems like an uphill battle. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, though, it’s that my kids have a front-row seat to my life. And if I want to raise kids who grow up to be kind and not easily offended, then I have to live my life kind and not easily offended.

There’s no end to the opportunities to practice. As I watch our world get angrier, I can’t help but wonder how we will recover the kindness we have lost. We have less patience in our interactions. We are quick to spew hatred across the Internet. We are drawn to conflict and hold on to bitterness. Through it all, my kids are watching.

But Paul reminds us that we are called to so much more. Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowances for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others (Colossians 3:12-13, NLT).

That means when we have the opportunity to be offended, we would do well to pause and replace our natural response with kindness. How can we do that? Take a walk, a shower or a nap. Turn off the phone. Pour yourself a big glass of water, drinking it all before letting any words come out of your mouth or through your fingertips. Pray or listen to worship songs. Do whatever you need to do to create a pause between the offense and your response, and watch how the Holy Spirit begins to realign your heart and change the trajectory of your thoughts.

May we have the courage to forgive when we’d rather be offended. May we show kindness instead of anger. May we yield to the Holy Spirit in our words and actions, and see the fruit of our response impact our children.


  • What practical ways can you practice pausing between an offense and your response?
  • What word or phrase from Colossians 3:12-13 catches your attention? Spend some time in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to help you to grow in that attribute.

Sarah Damaska (sarahdamaska.com)