A Competition Worth Winning

July 25, 2017

Did you sign up to receive our Summer Bucket List of Kindness? Starting today, you can get our second list! (yay!) If you already signed up to receive our emails and got the first list, the second one will be sent to you automatically. If missed out on our first list; no worries, we'll include it along with this one. Simply click the prompt on the home page and you'll be able to sign up. Easy peasy. Also, today I'm talking about how summer kindness has been going in our home:
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10, ESV)

I was tired of the squabbling in our home. Normally, my girls get 20 minutes of “technology time” after they’ve cleaned their room and finished their other tasks for the day, but after a morning of incessant fighting I decided to switch it up on them.

“That’s it!” I said, trying to breathe deeply through my annoyance. “Today the amount of technology you get to do is based on how kind or unkind you are to your sister. I’ll add or subtract accordingly.”

Although both girls began the day with 20 minutes, as the afternoon wore on and the fights over Barbies, who threw water from the mini pool on whom, and which towel was the prettiest ensued, they were down to a lackluster 10 minutes each.

Pulling them aside, I let them know the current tally.

“Guys, I know that you are kind, but these actions aren’t in keeping with your character,” I said. “What can we do to change that?”

As the realization dawned on them that their actions had a direct link to their minutes, the change was dramatic and instantaneous. Heartfelt? Maybe not. They are, after all, 7 and 5 years old. But as they began to fall all over each other to be the most polite, the most loving, the best at taking turns and sharing toys, the general mood improved and their minutes were added back to them.

All too often, life is a competition and, if we’re honest, being kind to others doesn’t always feel like an effort we want to win. People might take advantage of us, we reason. They might not appreciate our efforts. Those things are true, but what if we changed the conversation in the same way my children changed theirs? What if the only competition we had was on who could be the most kind, the most loving, the most thoughtful? It would be a game-changer, not to mention a mood-booster. It’s challenging because it goes against our own self-interests, yet it’s a habit that Romans calls us to develop and—dare I say—even turns into a bit of competition? “Outdo one another in showing honor” sure sounds like a contest to me. Thankfully, rather than the shallow competitions this world tells us matter, it’s one that can change us from the inside out, if we let it.

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