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?