Shriveled. Spoiled. Stinky. I’ll bet if the fruit in the Garden looked like this, Eve would of been able to resist. Bad fruit. I don’t want to touch it much less eat it. If I was a farmer I wouldn’t want to produce it.

Bad fruit is definitely something to be avoided!

When Tom and I lived in San Diego we had a lemon tree, lime tree, grapefruit tree, and a strawberry patch. I must fess up…the previous owners did the planting but if I wanted my little family to reap the benefits, I needed to learn how to encourage healthy plant growth.

Watering, fertilizing, trimming, weeding, and properly picking the fruit were all part of the process. It was pretty cool to be able to go out my backdoor and grab a lemon when a recipe called for one!

We had good fresh fruit.

As parents we want to produce good fruit in our kids. The trouble is we often zero in on the bad fruit. We  know what sort of behavior we don’t want to see in our kids: lying, cheating, stealing, hitting, and swearing. (Feel free to add your own thoughts here!) But what do we want?

The best way to get rid of the rotten fruit and grow some great fruit is to cultivate the desired character trait. is this done?

1. Identify what you don’t want. (meanness)
2. Identify what you do want. (kindness)
3. Pray God replaces the undesired behavior with the preferred trait. (meanness replaced by kindness)
4. Model the behavior and attitude. (show kindness)
5. Talk about the trait. (Did you see how that man helped the elderly woman? He showed a lot of
6. Provide opportunities for your child.(open the door for another)
7. Reinforce the desired action. (I sure appreciated the kindness you showed me when you helped carry the groceries.)

We don’t want kids with shriveled, spoiled, and stinky attitudes. So we must be proactive and intentional in training our kids so they can develop some really great fruit.

The fruit of the spirit is
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5:22

What behaviors and attitudes do you want to extinguish? What training techniques have worked for you?

© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.

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