1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, 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.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
These verses were read at my wedding and I’ve reviewed them many times over the nearly 30 years of being with my husband. Yet, they are more than words on how to have a successful marriage; they teach me how to love my children and how to teach my children to love each other. For if love does not first appear in the closest relationships we have (between husband & wife, parent & child, sisters & brothers), how can we expect it to appear in relationships in the professional world, on the playing fields, in the school rooms, in the board room, or even on the highways.
As parents, we must teach our children patience. Sometimes that means telling them no, even during the mist of a temper tantrum, allowing them to be angry at us instead of giving into their every wish. We must teach them to be kind at home first, to their brothers and sisters and that kindness can overflow in how they treat neighbors and strangers.
Our love as parents protects our children from wrong decisions, false teachings, bad friends, and dangerous situations. A parent’s love stands up for their children, giving hope when all seems hopeless and encouraging dreams when it seems dreams are lost.
At the end of our days, our children will not remember the party we didn’t let them go to or the toy we didn’t let them have. They might even laugh fondly at the restrictions and groundings they were forced to suffer. More importantly, our children will remember our love for them and how we, as parents, demonstrated to them the love of our Abba Father.