Fruits of the Spirit: Gentleness

Gentleness as a characteristic is not something we prize in 2022. Gentleness coupled with humility is particularly held in contempt. This is odd because so many of the people our society holds up as paragons of virtue were both – Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa to name a few. These people were NOT pushovers, they were people of very strong conviction and compassion who did not hesitate to stand up to authority when a person or people were being treated badly, without compassion or unjustly. Gentleness goes hand in hand with humility and in turn with respect, both of themselves and others. Gentleness is not weakness, it’s showing strength through love and compassion.
 
I found this website with some really wonderful ideas about a lot of things, two of them exercises to help illustrate gentleness to your children.
 
  1. The first requires water balloons, fun already right? Essentially the idea is to show them that when you are gentle with water balloons they don’t burst, but when you throw them, they break. When we use gentle words and act in gentle ways we are less likely to hurt someone else.
  2. The other is a gentleness jar which you fill with rocks and pompoms. When you pour the contents of the jar out onto a cookie sheet you can see and hear gentleness vs. hardness. I encourage you to visit the site, it is charming and very faith filled.
 
Characters in literature who embody gentleness:
Sam Gamgee; the mouse who chewed through the lions ropes; George Bailey; Jean Valjean later in life; Inspector Gamache; and Horton.
 
-Carolyn Hayes,
Director of Children and Young Family Ministries

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