As our kids grow from toddlers to kindergarteners to preteens and teens, a funny thing happens. Our focus shifts. We no longer worry so much about just keeping them alive. Instead, as they slowly but surely become more independent, we think about what kind of people they’ll become.

Our hope is that our kids will learn to live out good qualities like honesty, trust, courage, patience, and forgiveness.

But what’s our role in helping our kid develop these traits? Are they already hardwired?
Here’s something important to remember as you consider: God has made each one of us in His image, with the ability to live with integrity and demonstrate His character to others.

The apostle Paul said that when we follow God and make choices that honor Him, our lives will actually show the evidence—that other people will be able to see the proof of what God is doing in and through us. Paul referred to that evidence, or proof, as the “fruit of the Spirit.”

Paul wrote:

The fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful and gentle and having control of oneself (Galatians 5:22-23a NIrV).

Notice that it’s the Holy Spirit that produces the fruit in us. We can try to do it on our own . . . but we’re not perfect. We mess up. Our kids do, too. That’s why we need to “power up” with the Spirit.

When it’s hard for your son to wait because he wants what he wants, and he wants it right now . . . don’t worry. Patience is a work in progress.

When your daughter always seems to be worried about bad things that might happen . . . take a deep breath. Peace is a work in progress.

When there’s a gap—when you or your kids fall short—that’s the perfect teaching moment. It’s the perfect opportunity to help them understand that we can’t do it all on our own. We all need God’s help.

It can be tempting to want to rush things and want your kids to just grow up and get it all together. But they need space and a safe place to try . . . fail . . . and try again. Just remember, their character is a work in progress!