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 | By Sheri Wohlfert

This summer, help your children live the fruits of the Spirit

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Gal 5:22-23)

Summer arrives with some of God’s great gifts! He gives us longer days with warm sunshine, green grass, beautiful flowers and my favorite summer gift … delicious, colorful, sweet fresh fruit! When we think of fruit our mind might drift to visions of big red strawberries or sweet juicy peaches, but there is another kind of fruit for families to focus on this summer: the kind of fruit that is always perfect, available and designed to benefit the body and soul. The fruits of the Holy Spirit were mentioned in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians because he wanted them to understand that living these nine fruits or virtues were signs of someone walking with Jesus, which is exactly what we want to help our children do.

Practicing how to live the fruits of the Spirit is a perfect item for your summer to-do list and a great way for your family to grow in holiness and walk closer with Christ. Throughout the summer, we will take a look at some practical ways to help children live the fruits of the Spirit. As you begin to foster these as a part of your family’s daily routine, it’s important to remember that they are gifts from the Holy Spirit, and they have been given to each of us. We need to invite and cooperate with the Holy Spirit and think of the fruits as a tool we should prayerfully request rather than something we have to create or construct on our own.

The first step is to use the words! Introduce this short passage to your family and talk about the meaning of each fruit and how living that fruit could help us. You might consider putting the verse or the words in a place where everyone can see them.

Let’s take a look at the first two:

Love: Everything God does has its roots in love, so this is where we begin. As parents we need to set the example by using loving words and actions toward others, including our children and spouse. Make sure the conversations our kids hear are charitable and loving.  Sharing is a great place to grow in love. We can focus on sharing toys, turns, chores and time together. Foster a love of God’s children rather than a love of stuff, which might require a shift away from stuff and devices. The most powerful way to love, as demonstrated by Jesus at the Last Supper, is to serve, so make sure summer days include intentional acts of service for those you love (and even those who are harder to love). Do a favor for someone each day. This favor could be a physical deed of helpfulness done in love or a note, or a visit or phone call to someone who could use a little love and attention.

Joy: Joy is living in the will of God. We need to practice joy ourselves, which means spending time in prayer in order to grow in contentment and understanding that the Father is working in all situations and we need to let him be in charge. Gratitude is a foundation for joy, and being mindfully thankful and encouraging our kids to do the same leads to powerful change. The signs of joy include laughter and fun, which comes from the contentment that God is in charge. Plan to share simple pleasures such as pizza night, picnics in the backyard, Mass and donuts, or family games. Kids will look forward to these fun, predictable simple traditions. Negativity and comparison are the enemies of true joy, so be sure to notice where these may be sneaking into your children’s life and root them out with prayer and action. It might mean eliminating people, events or influences that hinder joy.

Be sure to check back next month as we dive into more fruits of the Spirit.

Sheri Wohlfert is a Catholic school teacher, speaker, writer and founder of Joyful Words Ministries. Sheri blogs at

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