Creating a Heart of Service

Unfortunately, children do not come with an instruction manual, and I had absolutely no clue how difficult it would be teaching our children to think of others before themselves. It has been our one family's goal, as it should be in every Christian family, to create a heart of service in each of our children. I can think of no better tool for teaching service than to give our children the gift of siblings. Caring for younger brothers and sisters is a great responsibility and an important life skill for whatever vocation your children might have. I know of several families that assign a younger sibling to each of their older children to care for. This system works very well, especially in large families. We've never used this system, per se. Our older children have always taken turns helping with the younger children when they see the need, or have been called upon to do so.

Service above self has come easier for some of our children than for others. Every so often, one of our children needs a stronger reminder to harbor a spirit of service. When needed, a selfish child is assigned to a more needy sibling and is required to serve that sibling's every need, from fixing the younger child's breakfast and lunch, to dressing and grooming, to playing what the younger child wants to play without complaint. Hopefully, after a set period of serving, our offending child comes to realize how important it is to give of oneself and mends his or her self serving ways.

How does your family promote a giving and serving heart in your children? I'd love to read your ideas and suggestions.


Anonymous said…
I think having an older sibling watch a younger sibling is a good idea (especially if you need a quick babysitter) and can teach much to both, but it is a fine line. You don't want watching a more needy sibling to be seen as a punishment to the older childs selfish antics. I had to watch my younger brothers growing up and at the time I resented them and my parents for making do it. Of course, I was a teenager and had better things to do, but in hindsight I can see it taught me patience more than anything and since I wasn't very good at doing what my brothers asked me, they learned self-reliance. I think older kids might get more out of volunteering at a soup kitchen or animal shelter since it is a more dramatic visual to see someone have nothing, and then realize they do have more than most and probably take some stuff granted. I volunteered at the animal shelter and loved it.
Dawn said…
Hmm, I don't have anything to offer but you did give me something to think about. Thank you.

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