Practical Service

By various parents
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Bloom Images/Punchstock/Getty
How can you as a parent practically instill principles of selfless love and sacrifice in your child?

Kids serving each other and their neighbors is an image that most parents would like to see. But perhaps that big picture starts with smaller tasks at home or school. Here are ideas from parents like you for encouraging kids in the area of empathy toward others:

Teach them to serve humbly

Our next-door neighbor Debbie asked, “Which of you has been bringing in our trash can?”

“Not me,” I said.

I saw her husband, Frank, smile at our daughter. “You’ve been doing it, haven’t you?”

Katelyn nodded sheepishly. I knew she retrieved our can from the curb when she got off the school bus but never imagined she’d done the same for our neighbors.

Later, tucking her in bed, I said, “That’s really sweet that you’re bringing the Jeldys’ can from the curb.”

“I remembered you doing it for that single mom when we were walking the dog,” she said. “Plus, I’ve heard all the stories of how you and Dad started doing secret service things when you were in college.”

I left her darkened room with a warm glow, determined to continue modeling secret acts of kindness.

— by Cyndi Lamb Curry

Encourage your child in selfless projects

When my 9-year-old son Andrew came home from school excited about the Thanksgiving food drive, I suggested, “Why don’t you make a flyer asking the neighbors to help? You can tell them when you’ll be by to collect, and maybe they can help you give to more people.”

Andrew went from house to house, explaining the project and leaving a flyer as a reminder. Four days later, he set out with his red wagon to collect and came back loaded with food. From this, he learned how to let others in on serving and how to multiply his efforts.

— by Laura Groves

Make it a family thing

During the holidays, my husband and I wanted our kids to know that Christmas was about giving. We purchased chips and salsa, packaged them in decorative bags and added cards that read, “This is a gift for your family to enjoy, from another family who loves you very much.” Then, we chose four families who we thought could use a little demonstration of God’s love. Our family then gave them the gifts anonymously.

— by Marcy Lytle

A Blanket of Compassion

Our middle son, Adam, loved his blanket. If Adam was tired, Blue Blankey became his pillow. If frightened, he draped it over his head; occasionally, his light-blue buddy became a cocoon of safety.

When Adam was 4, our church sponsored a missions trip to Bosnia to provide blankets for a hospital and an orphanage. Adam was immediately convinced of the importance of this ministry because he could relate to it. “Mom, everyone needs a blanket.”

We visited every thrift store I knew across three cities to buy gently used blankets. Later, Adam helped pour liquid detergent and fabric softener into our washing machine. He also helped load the dryer, fold blankets and deliver them to church. My son, wearing his own blanket like a scarf, smiled all the way home.

—Shellie Arnold

Holiday Hospitality

In Romans 12:13, Paul encourages us to “practice hospitality.” Here are two families who’ve taught their children to share belongings with overnight guests.

1. Luisette’s 4-year-old daughter, Jo-Hanna, gladly offers her room to guests but struggles to be courteous. So Luisette started “The Grace and Kindness Rule for Guests.” She’s instructed her daughter to give guests first choice. Jo-Hanna’s countenance sometimes falls when someone chooses differently than her preference, but Luisette has heard her daughter say, “OK, grace and kindness. We will watch your movie because you are my guest, and I want you to come back and play with me.”

2. Before houseguests arrived, Jackie’s family would create little surprises for their visitors. In doing so, a sense of excitement grew in their home. Their family has: 

Crafted welcome notes (with a mint attached) and placed them on the beds her children were offering to company.

Selected a favorite toy or book they wanted to share. Special toys that might get broken were temporarily stored in a safe place.

For Jackie’s kids, the highlight was sleeping on the floor — “family camping,” as it was called — which included spontaneous pillow fights, of course. And often her kids were caught saying, “Why can’t our company stay longer?”

—compiled by Andrea Gutierrez

 

“A Blanket of Compassion”: Copyright © 2010 by Shellie Arnold. Used by permission. “Holiday Hospitality”: Copyright © 2010 by Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. “Secret Service”: Copyright © 2007 by Cindi Lamb Curry. Used by permission. “Encourage Selfless Projects”: Copyright © 2008 by Laura Groves. Used by permission. “Give as a Family”: Copyright © 2008 by Marcy Lytle. Used by permission.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

You May Also Like

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.


If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.