In a recent blog, Teach Me To Serve, Part I, we talked about teaching our kids that people are important. And we teach by example. Face-to-face contact with neighbors, friends, and people from different walks of life provide us with a way to show love. Building rapport is important, and often makes us aware of tangible things we might do to bless others.
When the twins were little, I was always looking for ways they could serve people in our suburban neighborhood (depending on the season), whether it was picking up twigs, raking leaves or shoveling snow. Each spring the twins helped our next-door neighbor, Melissa, when she was out working on her garden. Whether it was to water, weed, or collect green beans. I talk about this, about being faithful teachers, and how God cultivates fruit in our children's lives in The Apricot Tree & The Little Garden, so I hope you'll read the whole story...
I definitely believe that children are happiest when engaged in serving other people, even if it's in the small things. It's something that I observed with my own kids.
Whether it's a group of teenagers trimming hedges at a widow's house, young children assembling sandwiches for the homeless, or siblings lovingly helping a younger brother or sister -- our children need a variety of opportunities to help people.
Think of natural and creative ways to teach your kids to serve people. For instance, a group of homeschooling moms in our area all had their kids in music lessons, so we used to go every couple of months to the local nursing home to perform for the residents. It taught the kids to care for those who are lonely.
Perhaps you're involved with a certain ministry, charity or soup kitchen. Whatever you do, encourage your children be aware of the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of those directly around them.
We used to help with (Samaritan's Purse) Operation Christmas Child -- packing the truck with boxes at the collection site. The boys thought that was so neat! As a family, we liked going to Mount Joy, PA to Global Aid Network to prepare seed packets for distribution overseas. For several consecutive years on the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving, we packed sandwiches and bag lunches for the homeless in Baltimore. That was fun.
I encourage you to continue to look around your home, neighborhood and community for simple ways that your kids might serve people. After all -- people are important!
Have a wonderful day. God bless you!