Ever since her sister had been a preschool student in the little yellow school house, Hannah had wished for her own carpet square like some girls wish for a puppy. Finally her turn had arrived and my proud pig-tailed four-year-old claimed her spot in the inviting colorful classroom.
When I retrieved Hannah at the end of her first morning of preschool I asked, "And how do you like your teacher?"
My daughter’s big blue eyes grew wide as her pink lips curled upward in a smile. “She’s just wonderful!” Hannah sighed. As an after thought, she added, “I bet Miss Theresa has a REALLY NICE MOMMY!”
Surprised by her conclusion, I questioned, “What makes you think that?”
“M-o-t-h-e-r…” Hannah drawled as if in one day of preschool education she had quickly surpassed my once-respectable intelligence. “Everyone knows that nice girls come from really nice Mommies!”
While my daughter’s theory may not always hold true in this broken world, her unsophisticated thinking is not completely awry. Kindness may not be infallibally passed from one generation to the next, but a child who has been nurtured in kindness is more likely to offer the gift to another. Quite simply, it is difficult to give what we have never received. Perhaps that is why the fruit of kindness that the Holy Spirit longs to grow in us is a reflection of the kindness that flows from the heart of God. In Jeremiah 9:23-34, God defines himself as a Parent who delights in “exercising kindness.”
In a sense, my four-year-old was right: Kindness does begin in the heart of a parent- a Perfect Parent, to be exact. If we want to be mommies who consistently give the gift of kindness to the children entrusted into our care, we must first put ourselves in a position to receive the very gift we long to give. Daily, we must climb onto the lap of our Heavenly Father and allow Him to pour the fruit of His Spirit into our meager souls. As we do, we may find that the wise words of Johann Christoph Arnold indeed hold true: Only the adult who stands like a child before the grace of God is fit to raise a child (Sex, God, and Marriage 73).
This is what the LORD says:
"Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,"
declares the LORD.