Saturday, October 5

Teaching Forgiveness and Selflessness to Children

As adults, forgiveness is perhaps one of the most difficult commands of Christ to fulfill. In our instinctive act of self-preservation, we push away people we perceive as threats and turn into a state of selfishness first displayed by Eve. When we are so flawed in our journey to fulfilling Christ's commandment to forgive and give, how can we teach our children?

Possessiveness is perhaps my greatest struggle working as a nanny. "Hey, that's mine!" is the household's most common phrase. After saying, "Brothers and sisters share because they love each other and because God wants them too" about a hundred times in one day, I thought, "there has to be a better way!" In a household with three children, every cup, toy, and blanket seemed to have an invisible name attached to it. The "It's Mine" mentality is not only annoying, but poisonous in the long term- possessive children become possessive adults. The possessiveness usually leads to an argument between siblings, hurt feelings, and pouting. A cycle of possessiveness, unforgiveness, and selfishness repeats like an old Neil Diamond song on the radio.

My first order of business, was to display a kid-friendly definition of forgiveness. "Forgiveness means loving someone even when they make a mistake and not being angry or mean if they hurt us." Below that, I posted "Give love and compassion to each other, forgiving each other as God forgives you." 

Next I implemented a heavy dose of related children's literature. The albeit non-Scriptural "Treasury of Virtues" is a kids classic offering short stories with morals like patience, generosity, honesty, etc. The Berenstain Bears "Forgiving Tree" is another great option. I also just ordered the "God, I need to talk to you..." series which has books on everything from video games to lying. Next I asked the children to avoid using the word "mine" because "nothing is really ours, it's God's, and he asks us to share with others." Below are some more great resources for possessiveness, selfishness, and forgiveness.


  1. Thanks for the kid friendly definition of forgiveness. My kids are doing the Sermon on the Mount in morning devos. I'll remember your words come time for the Lord's prayer!

  2. That is a very lovely post. You seem like a very generous person. I believe more in forgetting than in forgiveness.

  3. I am interested in following the blog as this is a very interesting article. Please keep sharing more and more.


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