A practical way to teach these life skills is serving together as a family. It’s one thing to tell our kids to stop being selfish, but it’s another for them to watch us lead by example. Our kiddos watch how we drive, how we talk and of course what we do — so serving as a family shows them that we too have to grow in our ability to put others before ourselves.
Here are five ways you can serve together as a family:
- Take a meal to someone in need. We all know food is a universal blessing. When your friend has a baby or someone is sick, bring them a meal before they even ask for help. More importantly, enlist your kids to pick the menu, help prepare and then deliver it with you. Don’t push your kids away while you simply check off a to-do. Rather, show them the whole process of how to bless someone else.
- Write notes or thank you’s to relatives/people who invest in your family’s life. Even your littlest one can scribble on a card. Talk with your kids about the importance of community and then thank those people that continue to influence you and your kids.
- Know your neighborhood trash schedule. Many of us forget when our own trash goes out and I’ve found myself running outside in my pajamas to make sure the truck gets it on their way back down the street. By simply knowing our trash schedule, we can look for the elderly in our neighborhood and help them roll their trash can out. Additionally, at the end of the day my kids roll trash cans in for others without them knowing.
- Serve someone who typically serves you. It could be your postlady or the fire station. Sure, that is their job, but it is a job of considering others and they meet practical needs daily. Leave a surprise gift for your postlady or take a box of candy, snacks and fun treats to the fire station. Everyone loves a surprise gift and your kids will share in their joy!
- Adopt a family for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The holidays are quickly approaching and there are countless ways to serve others. One is adopting a family for a major holiday. The Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children here in Waco always has ways to serve, but especially around the holidays. My kids learned a lot by picking out gifts for kids their ages and when they really wanted it for themselves, we were able to have a long conversation about how to love others before ourselves.