If my child speaks in the tongues of men or of angels, masters sign language at six months and Spanish and Mandrin Chinese by six years, but does not learn to love, she is only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If he has the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge-ABCs at a year, reading by two, writing chapter books in Kindergarten-but does not have love, he is nothing. If I volunteer for every mommy ministry-MOPS, AWANA, Sunday School, and if I give all I possess to the poor (or at least bring loads of groceries to the foodbank), but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy other mother's lifestyle choices or possessions, it does not boast in the areas of my children’s natural strengths (while covering for their faults), it is not proud of the way my child potty trained before your child. It does not dishonor others by insisting that my method of parenting is the best, it is not self-seeking-hoping that you’ll notice how smart, talented or well rounded I am raising my child to be. It is not easily angered by perceived slights or misjudgments, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth that all of parenting is fueled and driven by God’s grace. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails-even where I have fallen painfully short of God’s best for my children. But where there are competitions to see whose body bounces back best after childbirth, they will cease; where there are verbal fights over the correct methods of discipline, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge about the best way to feed and clothe and nurture a child, it will pass away. For we know in part and we parent incompletely, but when they are fully grown, what we thought we knew about raising our children will disappear. When I was a new parent, I thought, spoke and reasoned with immaturity and without grace. As my children grew, I asked God to give me the wisdom to put these childish ways behind me. For now we see our children’s future as only a reflection as in a mirror; one day we will behold their adults selves face to face. Now I know in part; then we shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.