In a world of takers, we want to raise givers!
In a culture of What can others do for me?, we want to encourage a spirit of What can I do for others?
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How can we encourage this spirit of giving? By modeling it and inviting our kids in to participate with us!
Our Two Most Recent Service Projects:
Collecting (and delivering!) diapers and wipes for the amazing moms at our local pregnancy center,
and collecting (and delivering) non-perishable food items for the families who eat lunch at our local soup kitchen.
For the diapers and wipes collection, we purchased all kinds of different brands and sizes of baby products AND invited our family and friends to participate with us. Facebook makes it easy to spread the word about projects like this, and I was excited that even some of our out-of-town friends joined in the fun by using Amazon Prime to either ship items to our house or directly to the center in our town. Do you have a pregnancy center in your area that serves brave families? I’m sure they would be so encouraged by your support!
For the food collection, we did things a little differently. In the past, my kids have joined me at the grocery store and helped pick out various canned goods and such that they would like to give, but this time around, we tried something new.
Dramatic Play: A Grocery Store that Helps the Soup Kitchen!
Grocery pick-up is my current M.O. (Thank you to all the wonderful places that offer this service! Ha!), so I ordered lots of items and then set up a pretend grocery store in my kitchen. (Nothing fancy! I literally just stacked it all up on the counter while my kids were playing outside one afternoon – no biggie.)
Then each boy took turns “shopping” the grocery store!
They were excited about picking out the items they wanted to give,
but I think their favorite part was bagging the groceries. Ha!
While this may look like it’s an ad for Harris Teeter, I promise it’s not! Ha! H.T. was where I had shopped that week, so that’s why you see their name on all the canned goods and bags.
The Goal of this Soup Kitchen Service Project
The goal for this project wasn’t as much quantity of items collected but to involve my boys in filling a bag that they would then be able to carry with their own two hands!
I wanted them to walk into the soup kitchen with me and be a part of the giving.
The next day, we drove over to the soup kitchen and together, we delivered the items. While we were there, the boys were able to interact with families who were eating there that day AND talk to the amazing volunteers who keep this much-needed ministry up and running.
The Family Who Serves Together…
Our family is passionate about serving together, and we make an intentional effort to bring our children face-to-face with as many different opportunities (and people!) as possible. We in no way want to protect our children from the realities of need. We want them to be so burdened with a passion for others that they grow into individuals who – on their own – have a burning in their hearts to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
When they think of the mothers and babies who need help, I want them to remember the pregnant mamas and sweet baby boys and girls they’ve met at the pregnancy center. When they consider the hungry, I want them to recall the faces of the families they spoke with at the soup kitchen. If their childhood does not include moments where I carry them outside of their comfortable existence and gift them with the chance to engage in the HARD of this life, I have failed them.
Do you share a similar passion?
Are you interested in discovering ways your family can serve together? Need a little help getting started? Check out these ideas. Not sure how comfortable your family will feel about working together on service projects? Consider one small idea, and see where it takes you. Stick together. Serve together. Grow together.
As you – together – step outside of your own family unit, you will see your family begin to blossom in ways that are only made possible when you embrace an others-centered life. In my own personal experience, many of my issues, struggles, hang-ups, etc. resolve themselves when I take my focus off myself. Maybe that doesn’t sound all that profound but the concept has radically transformed pieces of my heart and life.
This spirit of others has the power to change things – Let’s embrace this life of service together!
Interested in more ideas for how your family can learn and grow together? I’ve got you covered in Lifestyle Homeschooling – an e-book for families who are passionate about learning (and serving!) together.