As I mentioned last week, serving together as a family is one of the most profound ways parents can instill lasting values about the kingdom of God in their children.
Here are thoughts from three siblings who have been faithfully serving with their family once a month in the nursery for years. Helping in the nursery is not a huge commitment; however, the outcomes are profound.
Tyler, 18 years old
“Through serving with my family, (1) God has given me a soft heart for the world around me and the desire to do more service in the future. It (2) gives me a model for what I want to be able to do with my family in regards to service. For families thinking about serving together…do i! It’s a really great opportunity to learn more about yourself and even your close family members. It might not sound great, but you’ll end up really enjoying it.”
A Soft Heart. Every parent hopes their child will have a soft heart. I just don’t think that any amount of book reading, Bible study or “sit-down family devotions” could cultivate this soft heart like serving together as a family could do. Do you want your children to have compassion for others? Serve others together.
Legacy Planning. Think about your grandchildren. You as a parent are shaping the lives of your grandchildren by how you operate with your children today. As I think about the future, I am struck by the concept that what I do as a dad now is setting the groundwork for what my children will naturally do their own families.
Laura, 17 years old
“It is an important lesson to teach your children, to serve as Jesus served, and there is (1) no better way to teach them then by serving right alongside them. Getting out of bed when I didn’t want to, or canceling plans to go serve with my family has helped me to be humble, and has forced me to work on being selfless. Even if you have to (2) force your kids to serve with you the first few times, they will be impacted in some way, and will eventually want to serve all on their own. Serving with my family has given me a chance to watch and learn from my parents and their willingness to serve. It has motivated me to do the same.(3) I wish we served more as a family, actually.”
Show Them. I agree. Isn’t it funny when kids mimic our behavior? Is serving others a behavior that you want to be mimicked? If yes, begin serving with your children and those little monkeys will mimic you all the way into the service of the King.
Force ‘Em. This is hilarious! This is the advice of a 17-year-old high school girl to parents. The momentary pain of being asked to get out of bed (the high school version of torture by sleep deprivation) paled in comparison to the beautiful result that serving produced in her heart. Smart parents force their kids to do good things. Listen to Laura, parents.
Left Wanting More. So many parents of teenagers are absolutely desperate for relational time with their kids. Somewhere along the way, they feel they’ve “lost touch” with their teenager. Yet here is a 17-year-old girl who wants more time with her family and wished they served together more. Hello!? Are you catching this? Intelligent parents will serve with their kids at a young age and cultivate a hunger for togetherness through the power of serving Jesus Christ, which just might bridge the gap during those tough teenage years.
Katherine, 11 years old
“I would highly suggest serving together as a family because not only are you spending family time together and (1) having fun but you are helping others in their walk in faith by encouraging them. Serving in the nursery showed me how much little kids can know and understand. God has also revealed Himself to me through serving in the nursery through showing me certain (2) gifts I didn’t know I had like comforting children.”
Helping Is Fun. A correlation has been set up in Katherine’s mind between helping others and enjoyment. Remember the words of our Lord Jesus, “it is better to give than to receive.”
Gift Discovery. Here is a 12-year-old girl developing an understanding that she has gifts, given by God, for helping others. When I was 12 years old, the only gifts I was thinking about were the ones that were coming to me. This young lady has such a leg up on so many of her peers.
What we are observing in this post is as a result of good, solid parenting. These are parenting moves that can be replicated. Serve with your kids.