Teaching Our Children to Live a Life of Service

Posted by Rachel Urbina on May 15, 2018 4:00:00 PM

Teaching Our Children to Live a Life of Service-1

Our natural inclination as human beings is to be constantly thinking of how to meet our own needs. We become hungry and so we find food as fast as possible. We see something that we want and so we work out a way to buy it.  We don’t want to miss our favorite TV shows so we record them and become upset if they are deleted. The culture of self is one we are all very familiar with. Children naturally follow in these footsteps not only because of their sin nature, but because often it is what is modeled to them. None of us are perfect parents or teachers, but nevertheless, it is our responsibility to model and teach our children what it is to serve others. Here are a few ways to help teach our children how to live a life that thinks of others first and how it changes everything.

IT’S A FRAME OF MIND.
Don’t think of serving as just a one-time act. Taking out the trash because Mom asked is wonderful, but taking out the trash because you noticed it was full and it would help the entire family is having a mindset of serving. We need to help our children develop this mindset by modeling it to them, helping them notice opportunities for it to be practiced, and praising them when we see it in action. Take opportune moments to comment that there are crumbs on the floor or the shoe area by the front door is needs tidying up. By stating these facts out loud it will help our children recognize that a job needs to be done without us directly asking them to do it. After acknowledging these opportunities, we can have our kids help us while we explain how such a simple act can be a huge blessing to others. This can help partner the thought of service with good intent.

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IT’S A DISCIPLINE.
Since being aware of the needs of others doesn’t come naturally to us, we must practice it until it becomes a habit. This can be done practically by giving children chores and responsibilities around the house and yard. Explain that as a functional part of the family, all members must contribute to make it a pleasant environment for everyone. If one person shoulders all the work, it is neither fair nor pleasant for that family member. A good practice tool is to assign your kids to clean up each other’s messes or to work together to clean up a shared area. This helps to make them aware of how their actions affect the other members of the family. Another way is to have older children help prepare the younger one’s snacks or meals. You can also task older children with the job of teaching the younger a new skill such as tying shoes, loading the dishwasher, or even sorting the laundry. These are examples of how to practice being aware of the needs of others.

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IT’S A JOY.
Contrary to what popular culture tells us, serving others is actually the quickest path to a joy-filled life. Not only will we find great satisfaction when putting our fellow man’s needs above our own, but it brings immense pleasure to the heart of God. Billy Graham once said, “The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.”  Serving others is an act of worship to God, and it pleases Him immensely. Think of a time when your child did a chore without being asked simply because they saw it needed to be done. Were you not overcome with joy and gratitude to see them behave in this way? Make sure to communicate how pleased you are when you see this behavior. Seeing the joy on someone’s face when you decide to put their needs first is addicting, and we need to create the opportunities for our children to have that experience.

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Making a meal or cleaning up the yard for a sick neighbor or a new family who moves in are ways to serve outside of the home. If you are involved in a church there are always many needs that are simply waiting to be met by willing hands and hearts. Participating in service together as a family is another great way to model the behavior, and there is the added benefit of spending quality time together. Remember to teach that serving is not just an outward action, but an inward attitude of the heart, and ultimately we are working as unto the Lord.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working to the Lord and not to men.” Colossians 3:23

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Topics: Serving, Teaching our Children to Serve