A Season for Serving

 

Teaching Kids to Serve

 

Fall is here.  The weather is cooling off and the holidays are just around the corner.  With the holidays come many traditions that families hold dear.  Memory making times that will be passed down from generation to generation.  This year, our family is starting a new tradition.  A tradition of serving – together.

Traditions not only provide our kids with a strong sense of belonging and security but they also teach a cultural heritage and solidify our individual family values.  So why not make serving together as a family a tradition in your family?

I love that the holidays begin with our entire nation observing the tradition of Thanksgiving Day.  Don’t we have so much to be thankful for?  It is easy to take for granted our freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Practicing thankfulness is an excellent way to begin teaching kids about service.  I know that when I make a habit of being thankful, my own heart begins to overflow with gratitude and a strong desire to give back a bit of the blessing that I have received.

Simple Ideas for Serving as a Family

Kids naturally enjoy serving as evidenced by the hundreds of Play-Doh meals I have been served over the years.  {grin}

Ask your kids to brainstorm ideas for who and how they can serve.  Encourage them to think not only of ways that they would enjoy serving (like the Play-Doh lunch) but ways that are a real need but maybe not so fun.

Some ideas to get you started:

Neighbors are an excellent place to start.  Is there someone you can think of who needs some yard work done?  A meal cooked?  An afternoon of babysitting?

Churches are often in need of painting, cleaning or caring arms to read and tell about the love of Jesus in the children’s ministry.

Family members are often overlooked.  Does Mom need a back rub?   How about cleaning out the garage for Dad?  Surprise a sibling by doing one of their chores.  Consider writing letters of encouragement to far off relatives?

Contact a local homeless shelter or food bank to look for opportunities to serve.

Serving is Good For You

Serving together as a family is surprisingly fun!  There is something about working together that unifies and strengthens family relationships.  When we take our eyes off of ourselves to help others, suddenly our problems don’t seem so bad.

When we help our children experience the joy of serving, we are actually teaching them to become lifelong servants.  Statistics show that adults who volunteered as children give more money and volunteer more time than adults who began serving later in life.

Other research links mental and physical health benefits with servanthood.  Still not convinced serving is a good idea?

People who serve have:

  • higher GPAs
  • higher levels of creativity
  • a greater understanding of and appreciation for others
  • tend to make healthier lifestyle choices
  • develop better social skills

As our little corner of the earth quiets down for the Fall and Winter, consider the blessing and the benefits of serving together as a family.  Find a way to bless others and be blessed yourself!

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.  Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:2-4

 

Heidi St John Guide to Daylight

About Marianne Sunderland

Marianne Sunderland has been married to her husband, Laurence, since 1991. She is a homeschooling mother of eight lively children ages 3 to 22. Marianne is passionate about encouraging families to discover and nurture their children’s God-given gifts and talents, in and outside of the classroom. She also encourages women to joyfully love and serve their families. Her varied experiences homeschooling through difficult times and with kids who learn differently has taught her much about learning how to trust fully in God for her family and homeschool. Marianne’s blog, Abundant Life, provides weekly articles on faith, family and homeschooling that will bless and encourage you.

2 thoughts on “A Season for Serving

  1. I completely agree, Marianne! Serving is very important to our family as well. Sometimes it’s more difficult with small children because most service opportunities don’t readily include them, but we find ways to make it work because it’s so important to us. I completely agree w/ your reasons as well…it’s good for everybody 🙂

    1. Thanks, Crystal. When we had a lot of littles we did things like baking for our neighbors and showing hospitality at home. We would invite other families over and encourage our kids to serve our guests. They loved it!

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