You can read the first part of the series, Loving Through Service: Using Your Kitchen As A Tool, here.
As parents, we are constantly teaching our children. There is a need for teaching through service as well. We teach them how to walk and ride their bike. We teach them to say please and thank you and their ABC's.
Teaching our children how to serve others is not hard, however it does take commitment on our part. Young children love to help. They are forever asking to help wash the dishes or help dust the furniture. They LOVE to please. We can use that to encourage acts of service to other family, friends or neighbors.
- Children model behavior they see. If we are kind to the cashier who messed up our order, they will be kind. Showing kindness to our spouse, they will be kind to each other. If they see me taking the time to make cookies for the neighbor, they will learn kindness. Let your children help you bake the cookies. Have them be the ones to knock on the door and hand them the plate of fresh, chocolate-y cookies. By allowing them to help you in these small acts, they are learning kindness.
- Children do not like when someone they love is hurting. They may not understand the reason, but they understand tears or sadness. The other day, I was having a HARD day. (An Amen, Moms?) Nothing was working right, no one was happy and I failed at something that should have been easy. I finally broke down in tears. My just turned 2 year old had no idea why I was crying, but came over and put his arm around me and said, "It okay mommy". By explaining to your children that someone is sad, sick or in pain and showing care and compassion, you are shedding light on their rather selfish instincts. You are encouraging your children to not just care for themselves, not just care for their immediate family, but for others around them, even strangers.
- I enjoy teaching my children how to care for others. One day as a mom and a homemaker, my daughter will need to know how to clean toilets. The other day, she pulled that dreaded chore out of the chore jar. Not a happy girl. I explained to her, by keeping a clean house, she is caring for her family now and learning how to take care of her future family. Caring for others even when the task is unpleasant, inconvenient or tough is a great lesson for children to learn. I may have a carpool to run or my own family to feed. However, taking time out of my busy night to run a meal to a family in need taught my children more than the nightly carpool run to the school activities. We got into a conversation of why we made food for this family, how we are helping the family and how we can pray for this family. Complete care package wrapped up in a casserole dish and rolls.
Teaching through service can be in the smallest muffins, the sprinkle on cookies or the boiling broth of soup. Teaching your children how to serve others will be one of the greatest lessons you teach them. Find ways to use your kitchen as a teaching tool to help others.