Servant-Working: Making Smiles
by Ron VandenBurg
We are called to serve, and as Christians, we are called to give that “cup of cold water” (Matthew 10:42). When families do work outside of their homes, their churches and their schools, they can bless their communities in so many ways. Taking our children out to the community makes our children do valuable service for the community. Service learning shows the community that young people can make a difference in their community. Sharing with community members changes what’s important and can help form faith directly.
Children can learn a lot from doing service. Being involved inside an activity makes all involved learn from work instead of learning about work. As educator W. E. B. DuBois said, "Only responsibility teaches responsibility.”
When we are able to provide projects that tap into a young person's passion, big things happen. As one tween returning from a week long volunteer service project of helping physically handicapped adults exclaimed, "I finally found the reason I was born!"
Some tweens’ comments about genuine service were:
- “It is fun meeting new people and working in different places.”
- “It is hard when you see something sad happening in the community.”
- “It is hard being done especially if you really enjoyed yourself.”
- “I really liked getting the opportunity to go and serve in the community.”
- “It was fun getting a chance to bless others.”
- “We got to experience new things.” “We got to learn new skills.”
- “It was fun when you were helping because you get to see someone smile.”
- Regularly visit a “grand-friend” at a nursing home, assisted living facility, or in the neighborhood. Help your friend learn how to use email or Facebook to communicate with her family.
- Help your children offer popsicles or cold drinks to garbage truck workers.
- As a family or with a group of kids, develop a show to present at a nearby library, daycare, or community center. It might be a puppet show, play, or craft project. Get your dance class, choir, or martial arts school to give a demonstration at a daycare, nursing home, or community center.
- Walk dogs, collect mail, shovel snow, or rake leaves for someone in your neighborhood who needs the help.
- Greet your neighbors with a small gift such as a houseplant or plate of cookies.
1 John 3:16. We know what love is because Jesus gave his life for us. That’s why we must give our lives for each other.