Cultivating a Lifestyle of Service
“The home is the child’s first school, and it is here that the foundation should be laid for a life of service.“ (MH 400)
I am so thankful that my parents taught me the joy of serving others. From ingathering as a little child to adopting a home-bound “grandparent” in elementary school to experiencing mission trips in academy, I recall many wonderful instances where my parents helped to lay the foundation for a life of service. We cannot rely on our churches and schools or outreach programs to do this job for our children. We must show them how to live a lifestyle of serving others. Following are five ways to help you get your children excited about service to others!
1. Make serving a priority in your life! Stash a blessing bag in your vehicle to give to the next hungry homeless person you see or invite someone for supper who you know is eating alone tonight. Take soup and bread to someone who is home-bound. You can even find shelters and soup kitchens that will let you bring small children to volunteer along side you.
2. Give your children responsibilities at home. Teach them to serve you and one another by washing the dishes, replenishing the toilet paper, and taking out the trash. Affirm their efforts.
3. Read books about service and kindness. A couple of our favorites are Penny’s Christmas Jar Miracle and I Like Giving.
4. Fit giving into your everyday routine. While shopping,
pick up a few extra nonperishable food items to donate, pick up trash alongside the road while taking a walk, or make an extra loaf of bread for the neighbor.
5. Say thank you! Never let a gift or a kind deed go unthanked. Find opportunities to thank those who don’t hear it often like the mail carrier and the trash collectors. And don't forget to thank your children!
The earlier our kids see this lifestyle of service in us, the greater chance we have of equipping them for a life of compassion and service for God. In serving others the blessing is two-fold. A huge blessing goes to the one who receives, but I believe you will discover that the greatest blessing is in serving.