The non-negotiable practice of serving others……

We have a practice in our house.  Serving others. And participation is non-negotiable.  It’s simple: serve someone besides yourself.   It goes against the grain of our “self serving, the busier  the better, immediate gratification” kind of culture we live in.  In an American society where kids are busier than they have ever been, and families don’t have time for hospitality in their homes, much less service in their communities, it seems like a crazy-if not, impossible idea to incorporate into your family schedule.  Call us nuts, I know.  But we have this crazy idea that by serving others, our girls might grow up understanding that the world doesn’t really revolve around them.  We believe that serving others, and expressing altruism, generosity, and benevolence, will make our kids better people, better friends, better wives, better employees, colleagues, students….. And yes, we even believe it will make them happier.  Yeap! That’s what we believe.  Once a month, we participate in “Adopt a Block” with our church.  My kids have knocked on doors of houses of people they don’t know to ask them if they need their yard mowed.  Sometimes they just play in the park with the neighborhood kids.  They have picked up trash along the roads, offered encouragement, and assisted those in need.  They have made other people feel important, cared for, and honored. My girls are never over zealous about getting up early on a Saturday morning to do this. And it’s highly unlikely, at least at this point in their life, that they would decide to do this without a little nudging from us! But remember?  It’s non-negotiable!  It’s not an option.  Recently, our church “adopted” a nursing home. It was a challenge to know what to say and do initially! Awkward is the word that comes to my mind. But to serve is to be stretched way outside of our comfort zones. That’s the sweet spot for your kids. That’s when suddenly, they realize that in this very moment, “my needs have been trumped, over ruled.” By who? Well, maybe a little 10 year old in the park who wants to play tag, or an elderly person confirmed to a wheel chair, or the homeless guy at the busy intersection near our house.  And the best part is, our girls always step up. They do it. They survive the discomfort. They handle it. And they are happier for it. They learn huge lessons about those in need. They learn even bigger lessons about themselves, and what they are capable of accomplishing.  Start small if necessary. Make your kids hand wash the dinner dishes, vacuum, sort laundry-teach them, no-require them, to be servants in their own home. First make that non-negotiable.  Then it won’t be so foreign of an idea to serve outside their home.  If your kids are like mine, they spend plenty of time serving themselves. Facilitate opportunities for them to serve others. And when you do, make it non-negotiable! 1 Peter 4:10  God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”

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