I just read a great article yesterday in the Dallas News and it had this quote that struck me, “we don’t help others because they are Christians, but because we are.”
Acts of service to others has always been important to me. I love serving my family and making them delicious meals. I get that from my grandmother, who would always be in the kitchen during family gatherings – feeding us all tirelessly. When I walk my son to school in the morning, I want to carry his backpack, because it’s one of the few things I can still “do for him.” At nine years old, he’s already become pretty independent. This very morning he wanted to carry his own bag, and I caught myself telling him, “but I like to do things for you”.
I know it’s a little selfish of me to try to keep him from doing this because it makes ME happy. But on the other hand, doing things for others is a profession of love. And it’s also a commandment. In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus says: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Service comes naturally to some, it’s their love language. But it’s our duty as parents to make sure that even if our children are not naturally born Mother Theresas, we show them and teach them ways to help others.
It’s never been hard for me to find places or causes for myself to serve, but when I had little ones, it became a challenge. Age and safety restrictions, attention spans, and the ability to actually perform a task have all come into play.
Here are some things my children have done in the past. Some were one-off events with a group, some we have made or would like to make a tradition. Everything listed below my kids have participated since about 18 months old.
- Delivering meals on wheels with the help of Wee Volunteers.
- Throwing a baby shower for a refugee mother (family) through The Gateway of Grace.
- Making placemats for Meals on Wheels.
- Making lunch bags for homeless folks to be distributed by FTP Dallas.
- Picking up trash at a park or on a beach.
And now I genuinely would love to hear from you with any other ideas. As I said above, we are commanded to do this. So please come talk to me if you’re really looking to find ways to get your kids involved. Let’s serve our city together!