In the last couple of weeks I’ve been writing about our family vision. and the most important part of that vision.
Please keep in mind that in the points that I’ll be including in the coming weeks don’t really occur in a particular order. They are what we feel God has lead us to believe is important for our family. I would encourage you as I write about our family vision to pray about and discuss with your spouse what you family vision should be. Be as specific as possible. Don’t just say what you want, but also why and be sure to explain why to your children.
It is our desire for our children and our family members to learn how to serve others. We want them to learn to serve God first, their siblings, us as parents, and those around them.
Image from Christart.com
5 Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
We remind our boys often that we are called to serve God. He sent His son to die on the cross for our sins. His son paid the penalty that we all deserve as a result of our sin. We deserve death and life away from God. God can not bear to be in the presence of sin, He hates it. Nothing we can do will “earn” our way back to Him, there is no way we can ever be good enough. But God loves us. So He sent Jesus to pay the penalty of our sin. Once we believe in Him and trust Him as our savior we are assured eternal life in Heaven with our God. Because of this we should want to serve Him.
Serving God means we are obedient to Him and what He has called us to do. It means that we honor one another, we seek to do God’s will and seek to bring glory Him in all we do. Some ways that we teach our boys to serve God include things like
- Prayerfully considering decisions when it comes to how we spend our money and our time
- Seek His will before we agree to do something
- Give God credit for the blessings, talents and abilities He has given us. They are gifts from God.
I was blessed as a mother to see this in action a year ago in my children. Our AWANA club is sponsoring another club in Nepal. The kids are bringing money to send over to the other club to help support their activities and teaching God’s word. One of my children had been eyeing a book about Legos in the store for several weeks. Every time we would go into the store he would walk past the book, slow down, pick it up and sigh. He didn’t quite have enough money to spend on the book. He was saving his money for that book each week, but then we started our adopt-a-club in AWANA. One morning during our devotions, he said “Mom, I really want that book, but I also want to give to adopt-a-club”. We told him he could give his regular giving money (we ask our boys to divide their commissions into give, save, spend) to the club in Nepal, but he wasn’t quite satisfied. “Mom, I really want that book, but I could give my money ($20.00) to adopt-a-club instead…I don’t know what to do”. I told him to pray for discernment about what God would want him to do and to do what he felt led. He prayed everyday that week for guidance. He chose ultimately to give his saved money to Nepal. He chose to serve God with his money rather than himself. It was a big sacrifice for a little boy, but I was pleased he listened to God’s prompting.
Serving others, especially siblings, requires a lot of humility. Our family’s character definition of humility is “RememberingGod is responsible for our successes and achievements and not being prideful orarrogant in my attitude or behavior.” This is tough, even for adults to master. It means that we have to put our own needs aside for the needs of others. We have to be willing to not be prideful.
I Peter 5:5 says “5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”
We encourage serving others, especially siblings, by having the older and younger boys work together at tasks. When a younger brother is having difficulty completing a task, we ask an older brother to help. They don’t take over, they don’t complete the task alone, but they do it alongside one another. This is beneficial in a number of ways in our family. It teaches us to watch for when someone else needs help, it teaches us to jump in and be ready to help as best we can whenever we can, and it demonstrates team work and cooperation. Often times, the older brother will be able to show the younger an easier or more efficient way to complete a task.
Our 2 youngest serving the family by emptying our dryer
One of the things we often have the boys do is go on recon missions for dirty laundry, lost toys, shoes and whatever else we might be looking for. They go in teams and work together. If a little can’t carry his armful of laundry, the big brother can help by picking it up. They get the job done completely and serve together. They’re not only serving each other, but are also serving our family by helping with the laundry. We have a similar system for putting laundry away. A big and little go together to hang up shirts, often the big brother helping re-hang a shirt if it falls of the hanger but they serve together.
Sometime serving means giving rides in the laundry basket
Many mornings the older boys will help by making a younger brother toast or pouring milk on a little guy’s cereal. It’s not always a huge thing, but it helps keep us humble and helps maintain a servant attitude.
Making toast together
Learning how to serve takes time. We can’t just have one lesson in it during our school day and expect it to take hold. It’s something we have to cultivate every day and every moment we’re together. Teaching your children how to serve can be as simple as helping them learn to hold doors open for those around them. It teaches them to be aware of the needs of others and meet those needs. We do it when we don’t want to, when we’re grumpy and when we’re already frustrated. But…we are called to do it. We do it because God asks us to. And as we serve others, we find that we’re blessed as well.
1 Peter 4: 10-11 As each one hasreceived a special gift, employ it in serving oneanother as good stewards of themanifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is todo so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through JesusChrist, to whom belongs theglory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
If teaching your children how to serve is fairly new to your family, I encourage you to start with small things. Tell them why serving is important. Have them help bring in groceries and then praise them for serving their family. Start by teaching them how to sort laundry into piles, then praise them for helping. Often times I’ll say “I’m so thankful you were willing to serve our family, look how helpful you have been!” or “Wow! Daddy did you see how so and so served our family by doing such and such? I’m so blessed to have someone so helpful!”
Another great way to teach you children to serve, is to serve others yourself. Let your kids see you help others and do things for those around you. Let them go with you or even help make a meal for someone in your church. Tell them that you’re making a meal for this family because they could use a little extra help. When you go out to eat as a family, encourage your children to help you clean the table and floor around where you sat. A family with little kids can make quite a mess. Tell them you’re helping clean up because you don’t want to make more work for someone else or because you want to make the waitress’s job a little easier. We remind our children to leave a place in better condition than what we found it.
In serving others, we are serving God.