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Building Character In Kids: Courage and Love

Our world can be a harsh and threatening place to live – especially for kids. Do you want your kids to face difficult or hostile situations with courage? To love people even when those people despise them?

Character in Kids: Courage and Love

It’s so easy to wish that all of life were carefree. I don’t naturally gravitate toward things that are difficult. Neither do I usually make choices that intentionally place my kids in potentially dangerous situations or circumstances that seem beyond their ability. My first thoughts when I have been hurt or threatened are not typically loving or forgiving.

I want to have courage when necessary and love even when I am hurt.

I want my kids to trust God and meet difficult situations with courage.

Psalm 18:2-3

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my god, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

I want my kids to know that loving their enemies is honorable.

Matthew 5:43-44

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor , and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.

What can I do to inspire courage and love in my kids?
  • Pray that I will be a good example of courage and love
  • Embrace the situations that ask me to display courage and love
  • Pray that my kids will want to develop courage and love
  • Teach them Scriptures that support a life of courage and love
  • Support them when they face situations that require courage and love
  • Share examples of real people who demonstrate courage and love

The story of 6 year old Ruby Bridges is one of those great, real-life examples.

We’ve had this picture book, The Story of Ruby Bridges, on our bookshelf for a couple years. (Its out of print, so check the library!)


In 1960 a judge ordered that Ruby begin attending the local elementary school to enforce the nation’s recent desegregation laws. As a first grader, she walked into school through angry, protesting crowds under guard of US Marshals!

Her parents were proud of the part she had been chosen to play in American history. They prayed that God would give her strength and courage to meet the challenge. They encouraged her with the example of Jesus who had also faced an angry mob without malice.

Ruby herself prayed for her enemies, crowds of people who wished her dead, on her way to and from school every day.

Recently we found Disney’s Ruby Bridges movie at the library.


We’ve read the book several times lately, so the kids were excited to watch the movie. The story is well portrayed, and I would definitely recommend it. Listening to the viciousness of the crowds was somewhat horrific, but I think it enabled the kids to better understand what Ruby really faced. Many aspects of the story triggered some good follow-up conversations.

Our youngest daughter, who is just shy of 5, said, “That was a sad movie.” When I asked her why, she talked about how mean the people in the crowds were. We discussed how terrible that was. We also talked about what a blessing it was that Ruby’s parents encouraged her to trust God and how amazing it was that Ruby could pray every day that God would forgive her enemies.

Her conclusion was, “I want to be Ruby Bridges when I grown!”

I’m thankful for Ruby’s example. May all our kids learn to trust God for a spirit of courage and love in the face of difficulty and hatred.

How do you inspire courage and love in your kids?


Shared at: Grace & Truth, What to Read WednesdayRead Aloud WednesdayThoughtful ThursdayThriving ThursdayFellowship Friday, Art of Homemaking Monday, Coffee and Conversation, Family Fun Friday, Women with Intention and Work In Progress.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


  1. I’ve heard of this one before but never read it. It sounds wonderful, though. I will have to look it up for my kids. Thank you for linking up!

  2. Abi this is wonderful! I will definitely look for Ruby Bridges at the library. I have heard about it over the years but have never read it. I am now very curious to read it with the kids. Thanks!

  3. Abi, these thoughts have been heavily on my heart and mind lately, too. Especially in light of the conflict in the Middle East where Christians are being heavily persecuted and even here in the US where we feel the beginnings of disapproval and rejection for our faith. I feel the need to prepare my children to face persecution for their faith, with “courage and love”. Thank you so much for sharing your heart on this subject. I will definitely be looking for a copy of the Ruby Bridges book and movie. Thank you and may God bless you!

    • Yes, Anna, we can’t know what will be required of us. I definitely want to start talking to our kids about these concepts now and helping them to practice in the small everyday situations kids encounter with each other.

  4. We also have the book and watched the movie this year! Excellent is all I can say. So much to learn from a little girl… Thanks for sharing this at the Art of Home-Making Mondays! 🙂

  5. The Peaceful Haven says:

    Such a great post…I am going to get the Ruby Bridges book! Thanks for taking the time to write such an encouraging post and to recommend a good book…which I am always looking for!


  1. […] Joy In My Kitchen wrote a great post on how to build courage and love character traits in kids. […]

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