Slow Down & Serve in August
Summer may be over in terms of school break, but that doesn’t mean teaching your kids about ways to serve needs to come to an end.
Here’s one more idea. Put all the names of everyone in your family on a slip of paper & put each one in a hat (basket, Ziploc bag, etc.). You may even want to put the name of your pet in there. You will wind up passing the hat around the dinner table with each person drawing out someone else’s name. Before you do that, though, have some discussion based on scripture. Here are three suggestions.
- “Do to others as you want them to do to you.” Luke 6:31 (NIRV)
- “Here is something to remember. The one who plants only a little will gather only a little. And the one who plants a lot will gather a lot. You should each give what you have decided in your heart to give. You shouldn’t give if you don’t want to. You shouldn’t give because you are forced to. God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to shower all kinds of blessings on you. In all things and at all times you will have everything you need. You will do more and more good works.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NIRV)
- ”Be careful not to do ‘good works’ in front of others. Don’t do them to be seen by others. If you do, your Father in heaven will not reward you. When you give to the needy, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Then your giving will be done secretly. Your Father will reward you. He sees what you do secretly.” Matt. 6:1, 3-4 (NIRV)
Then explain you’re each going to draw a name of someone else in the family. The assignment is to do something kind or helpful for that person at least once in the week ahead (or everyday if you want to set the bar high). Parents, you are doing this, too!!! You may need to brainstorm about ideas that might work. Kids can put away toys so Mom doesn’t have to. Dad may love a foot rub when he gets home from work. Dad could offer to cook dinner one night. Mom might do a chore for one of the kids. You get the idea.
You can choose to encourage each other to do these good and helpful works in secret or not, depending on what you think is best for your kids, but this is the best way to go for really understanding service. It’s not about us getting praise or attention! Learning this early in life will go a long way as our kids mature. This is one reason you may want to include your pet in the drawing (or the baby). They can’t give back or praise you for what you do!
The next week, talk about how this experiment went. Then put everyone’s name back in the hat and do it again with everyone picking a new name. This could go on indefinitely and after you’ve gotten some practice at home, have everyone around the table identify a friend, co-worker, neighbor, etc., to extend this giving to.
Learning to be other-minded can be fun. Especially when we open our eyes to see how God blesses us for it.
Enjoy what’s left of summer. More importantly, enjoy the blessing of service.