Miss Part 1 of this series? Read it here
Mark 12:30-31: ” And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
We want to raise our kids to be kids of character. That means more than just mentally knowing what character is. Sure, that’s the first step in training your kids. They can’t take steps to implement it if they’re unaware of it. After they’ve learned that though, it’s important to take action. How do we do it? When do we do it? How do we find needs?
First of all, look around you. Look at your neighbors. Look at your church members. Look at your acquaintances. Those are the people God has put in your sphere of influence. Begin listening to them. It can almost be like a treasure hunt to see who can be attentive/alert and find needs that others have.
Widows and widowers are a great place to start or even just elderly folks who can’t get around like they used to. Maybe they could use some help raking leaves. We just did this for a neighbor who is getting up in age and just had a major surgery. After toddler-hood, any child can help raking leaves. Toddlers can even use a toddler sized rake to “help”.
Ask God to lead you to people who have needs. They are all around you. Maybe you will meet a widow at church who would appreciate a visit. Older folks are blessed when young people show an interest in them. We raised our kids in Virginia. Rick’s mom lived in Kansas and my folks lived in Massachusetts. So we “adopted” grandparents for our kids who were local. These were people we could minister to even in some small way. What we found is that when we extended ourselves to invest in others, God blessed us ten-fold in ways we never even dreamed of. Just learning of the life older folks led, how they served the Lord, how the Lord was faithful to them and they were faithful to Him has enriched our lives so many times over.
I challenged my daughter, and later my granddaughter, to pick out an older person in church that they could just simply give a smile and hug to each week. It’s so precious to see how that person will look for her to get their weekly hug. Such a simple thing- such a ministry. Such an appreciation it will create in your kids. It gets them out of their “comfort/selfish” zone to enter the lives of others and learn to anticipate ways they can become a blessing.
This Christmas we celebrated as a family on Saturday as everyone could be together that day. Then, on actual Christmas Day we invited two friends who didn’t have a place to go for Christmas this year. We had a meal with them and some of our family who could be here. Then in the afternoon, we headed to the nursing home to sing to a lady my daughter has taken care of. She used to attend our church but now is blind. She still LOVES singing though, and it was such a blessing to us all to see what a blessing it was to her as she sang with us and said it made her day.
Blessing others can take such a small effort on our part. As we learn to seek ways to be a blessings, it becomes more natural. It blessed my heart on Christmas day to see some of my grandchildren go with us and lift their voices to those who gathered in the activity room of the nursing home. To see the smiles on the faces of those residents made the effort more than worthwhile. We can do things even if we have little ones in our home. What’s more, we should. When little ones are raised that way, it will become a part of their life style.
For more ideas on how you and your kids can serve others, check out our book for kids: Character in Action. (15% off, through January 2018)