Teaching your Kids to Serve

As Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly approach, there are many opportunities to involve our kiddos in one of the greatest life teaching experiences available: Service.  Somehow, our children transform when they are serving... and so do we.  Whether you host a car wash to raise money for a needy family, mow a neighbors lawn or offer to babysit for free so a couple you know can enjoy a much needed night out... the act of serving softens hearts and creates relief for those you've served and gratitude, empathy, love and family unity for the ones who offer service.  True service is born of love and enlarges the capacity of those who give to give more the next time.
This little punk-a-noodle is mine. She's 4.  She worries about how much milk is in HER glass, who's playing with HER doll, and why the gift we brought to her friend's birthday party isn't going home with HER.  As a family we have enjoyed small moments of serving together and as a parent I LOVE watching the transformation in my children.  We clean the church together on Saturday.... on Sunday they treat the church with more respect.  We babysit for a family who has kids with special needs... my kids take pride in teaching those kids all of the things they're good at and together all the children feel love and are unified.  We make cookies for a neighbor who's struggling.... we watch with excitement and love when those neighbors smile and know we love them.
What I have learned from giving service:
  • We love those we serve... if we didn't before, we do after we truly serve them.
  • My capacity to accomplish MANY things increases when I serve.  Somehow everything gets done.  There's always time to do something for someone in need.
  • My children feel better about themselves.
  • My children are grateful, excited to serve again, and truly happy.
  • We all have SOMETHING to give.  
WARNING:: Sometimes it is necessary to receive service... graciously.  PLEASE, when someone wants to serve you, let them!  Perhaps you could fold those clothes all by yourself or would get around to mowing your lawn but it's OKAY to allow others a chance to serve and love you... and it's okay to feel relief that a little burden has been lightened.  Just consider how good YOU feel when you give service and allow others the opportunity to bless you!
What opportunities are you taking to teach your kids service?  Do you have traditions this time of year that help you focus on service and the spirit of Thanksgiving or Christmas?  


Thoughtfully blended hearts said...

What truths you speak!!! There is a whole generation of children who do not know this lesson and it is so sad. I'm so excited to see that this generation of children is being taught this valuable lesson...APPLAUSE!!!

Karen said...

First, your little girl is such a cutie!
Yes, learning to be served is sometimes hard, but you are right... it's nice to allow someone to do something for you.
My sons are all grown but I see them continue to serve in many ways and it is very, very heart-warming.
Love your blog!
Ladybug Creek

mrsgarageflower said...

We try. At our old house our oldest two and myself served Thanksgiving dinner to the needy at our church for several years.
We've moved to a new community and the two little ones and I ring the bell for the Salvation Army. It's not as much as I want so I need to do something about that!
And your little one is adorable and so happy! Look at that beautiful smile! You are blessed.

Its So Very Cheri said...

I think it is so important for kiddos to learn this valuable lesson in life. It is so much eaier to learn that the world does not revolve around you at a young age than to have to learn it as an adult.


Reese said...

I love this post and the totally cute 4yo. Do you just kiss that face all day?
Raising children with a servant's heart can be such a struggle.
Thanks for reminding us.

P.S. I have a cute 4yo boy. Let's have lunch in 20 yrs.

Magic Brush said...

My 6 year old and 7 year old sons are ringing the Salvation Army bell with me again this year!

Myrnie said...

Your daughter is such a cutie- I'm in love with her hair :) And YES- it is so hard to "be served" sometimes! Something to definitely remember as we head into this holiday season, and teach our children.

Katie said...

Love your blog, thanks for the advice about being served. I have not taken it after 3 children. Love dresser on top working or non.

Angie said...

love this post. This year we've been able to help put together and deliver a few Thanksgiving meals (along with my parents and other extended family) for 3 different families. With that same extended family we'll be helping out with a sub-for-santa for a family we all know and love. I'm really excited to get the kids involved in that.

As for being the one who is served, I've been learning about that. :) I've been blown away by how much my friends and family really do love me and the lengths they've gone to to serve me during my blessedly stressful time (new baby, sold house, bought new house all in the same week. Crazy? yes.) It's been a beautiful lesson.

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