It fires me up to imagine how this world will change as we raise a generation that recognizes the power in serving others. That sees the needs of others and steps up to meet those needs.
Our kids are incredible – even from a young age we can really empower them to live a life of service. When our kids serve others, it helps them to see and believe that they can make a difference in the lives of others. And I think when they see that, they’re able to embody the belief that they can make a difference in their own lives too.
Here are 3 ideas for raising kids who serve others:
1. Make serving a habit
The thing about service is, it’s not really a one-time deal, like something to do around the holidays or when you join a walk-a-than once a year. Service is a lifestyle. In fact, there are probably several ways you’re already modeling this lifestyle and may not even realize it. Holding the door for others is service. Making meals for your family is a service.
Service is just one of those things that seems like it needs to be planned, put on the calendar, and shown up for wearing a special T-shirt. But service is more about a heart condition and a state of mind rather than an event.
2. Make it a family thing.
You know what they say about good intentions, right? Talking about serving others is cool, but it’s the doing that matters. If your children grow up watching you serve, they’ll be more likely to be service-oriented themselves.
Start by letting them work alongside you. Then, as you go along, teach them more than the mere skills of service, but the spirit of service. Talk about how we serve our families…as you’re folding clothes, driving them to a birthday party, or cleaning up after dinner. It’s not only a job to be completed, it’s a blessing to be offered.
3. Let them lead
The best leadership is in the service of others. It’s in service of those we lead. So we can impress this idea on our kids and encourage them to serve. Because great leaders put others first. So maybe it’s getting involved in a non-profit, finding a way to serve the under-resources, community service, serving at your church – in whatever capacity, it’s so important that our kids have opportunities to serve and to see us serve.
Because there’s a greater purpose to their leadership, right? It’s not just to gain the power to make their money – but it’s about making the world a better place and having a positive impact on those around them. And they can really experience that firsthand when they get an opportunity to serve. They can experience how it feels. They can experience joy and empowerment in fulfilling that greater purpose.
Contribution isn’t only about good deeds and noble actions. Kids need to know that they can contribute ideas that will be taken seriously and respected. When adults invite their suggestions and opinions, especially about matters that concern them, we increase their sense of control, which in turn enhances their resilience.
Help your children identify causes they care about and then help them find solutions to those causes. If they care about hunger, they can take food to a food bank. If they care about cancer, they can participate in a fundraiser to find a cure. If the environment is their passion, they can pick up trash. Helping a child find a special passion can allow him to become an expert in the subject and to provide increasingly more meaningful service in that field.
How does your family serve together?