Earlier this month we celebrated Valentine’s Day and many parents take advantage of the topic of the holiday to teach their children important lessons on love. But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be the only time of the year when we teach kids how to love each other. Jesus is all about love. His number one command was to love your neighbor. So it’s important to find ways to effectively teach your children on how to love. I’ve found that the Berenstain Bears books offer great prompts to share lessons on love in ways in which children can relate.
The Berenstain Bears Lessons in Love is a three-books-in-one collection that not only teaches my children about love but also other valuable life lessons and biblical morals. The three books, Reap the Harvest, Perfect Fishing Spot, and The Trouble with Secrets were read by my seven year-old daughter Zoe all in one night before bed as her brother listened with excitement. The next day, I asked her what she liked about the books. She said she loves the entire family with her favorite character being Brother Bear. When I asked her why, she said, “Because he is the older sibling. He takes care of his sister and stands up for her.” She also likes how the family is inquisitive and seeks out adventure and information.
I then was curious to know which of the three stories was her favorite. She chose Perfect Fishing Spot as her favorite. In Zoe’s first grade class they were learning how to use story details to articulate the story’s main idea. So I asked her why she chose that story as her favorite to see how well she had been learning in class. She said she loved how in the end, Momma Bear was right. That, in fact, was the main idea of the story supported by Proverbs 31:26-27. “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household…”
The story of the Perfect Fishing Spot starts with Momma Bear asking Papa Bear to go out and get some fish for dinner. She says he should just go to the store to buy the fish. Instead Papa Bear takes the kids on a long day’s adventure of fishing. They try out four different spots to fish and come up empty handed each time. In the end, Papa Bear says, a good lesson to you both is to listen to your mother. She knows what she is talking about. Ha! I loved that this showed Father Bear and Mother Bear in a healthy marriage, where one person isn’t afraid to admit when he was wrong!
I also love what the Bible says about the connection between love and honor:
Romans 12:10 (ESV): Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
It gave me great joy to realize why Zoe likes this story. I feel she understands why she should respect the instruction of a mother, and that she loves me a great deal. Sometimes the best lessons we learn are the ones that come from our own children.
What ways do you teach your children about love? Leave your comments and ideas on our blog. We’d love to hear from you!