Love is an action not a feeling. Unfortunately the way kids' movies (can we say every Disney Princess movie ever made?) portray love, it is almost always shown as a HUGE feeling that can't be denied. By the end of the movie everyone is cheering when the princess finally beats all odds and marries her prince.
Now, I'm not advocating throwing out every princess movie you own. We'd have anarchy in my house if I got rid of Cinderella, and there would be serious repercussions if I got rid of my children's "Blondie" (Rapunzel) dolls.
I don't believe fiction in kids life is a bad thing, but we must be intentional of teaching what real love looks like.
Here are six ways you and the kids ways to learn about real love by doing. The list is based on the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman (a book I highly recommend).
Remember every time you do something loving, your kids are learning what love is.
1) Physical Touch
For the kids: Have your kids give a family member a surprise hug or kiss.
For the grown-ups: Seriously hug your kids. Make time especially for little ones who want to be held and snuggled. The next time you have a little one climb up on your lap to read a book, hug them and whisper the words, "I love you." This kind of communication speaks volumes.
2) Words Of Affirmation
For the kids: Have them make a card for someone in the family with a list or pictures about why they love that person.
For the grown-ups: Pile on the praise. Tell them why you love them, tell them why they're amazing in God's sight.
3) Acts of Service
For the kids: Have them do a chore for another family member.
For the grown-ups: Any time you do housework or something kind for another family member have a spirit of love rather than irritation. (Um, I need to work on this one too.) Remind your kids you do these chores as acts of love as often as possible.
4) Quality Time
For the kids and the grown-ups: Do something really enjoyable together, talk about how spending time together is a way to demonstrate love.
For the kids: Have them spend their own money to get a gift for someone in the family. They can do chores to earn money if they need to. The gifts don't need to be expensive, but have them feel what it's like to sacrifice for someone you love.
For the grown-ups: Gifts don't need to be expensive or even store bought. Get your kids something that will show them that you thought about them. They'll be tickled and learn another way to show love.
6) Teach them about Jesus
Show them the stories in the Bible where Jesus took time to heal the untouchables, how he helped the poor, and how he sacrificed because he loved them.
Talk about his death, and why he came to this earth. Imagine what it would be like with your kids to live in heaven and then have to leave.
Disney princesses are nice, but your kids need to know that THIS is true love. Jesus is real, and that he really loves them.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Leave a comment with the ways you teach your kids about love.