We already went over why to serve our country and we focused on needs. There are some great needs out there and we can all do something to serve this great nation we live in.
To day, though, let's narrow our scope down to our local communities. Our communities have the same needs found at a national level. In fact if you're in Lane County, did you know that about 20% of all households live on incomes below the poverty line? There are definitely needs.
Let's focus today on our kids serving in our local communities.
What does service do for our kids?
Service does wonders for our children! Helping out is often done with others, teaching teamwork, group problem solving, social skills, and a strong work ethic.
Kids appreciate what they have after seeing others who are struggling with less. As kids serve more, it becomes less about them and more about the people being served. Kids begin to notice the needs around them more and have a broader view of life.
Children are naturally empathetic. The few times I've stubbed my toe or otherwise been in pain recently, my one year old has wanted to be near me and "comfort" me. A lot of kids lose that natural compassion as they grow older. Service fosters those innate feelings of caring.
Kids find joy through serving. I'm not talking about "We just won the soccer match" kind of happiness, more like "That family now has food for dinner." One of the easiest ways to find joy in service is a simple doorbell ditch of a plate of cookies or paper hearts taped to a front door. The joy of doing something kind for someone else along with the adrenaline of running as quickly and quietly as they possibly can results in some major smiles. Don't believe me? Test it out for your family. Smiles guaranteed.
How to raise service-minded kids?
Make service a normal part of everyday life. One of the main focuses of Little Hands Can is to provide simple service ideas that your family can do with little to no prep and only a few dollars so check out our Simple Service posts for a continuous stream of new ideas for your family.
Start young. I was at the park last week with some one year old kids. They're still in the pick up everything stage and they were finding quite a few pieces of garbage amidst the sand and wood chips of the playground. I had two options, 1) I could take every piece of trash out of their hands and throw it back on the ground and re-direct them to other things or 2) I could encourage them (while watching really carefully to make sure they didn't pick up anything sharp/dangerous and that nothing went into their mouths) to throw away the trash they were finding. They were great little park picker-uppers. There are lots of opportunities for young kids but you've got to be willing to make it happen.
What service can we do?
I bet your kids can come up with some great ways to serve their community. Brainstorm together! My favorite Warm Fuzzies have been kids' ideas that turn into doing something great for their community.
Come to a Little Hands Can event! Come serve with us! We'll be coloring place mats for Meals on Wheels on August 11 at Emerald Park. The day before school starts, Sept 8, we'll be at the Grassroots Garden for the morning. Can't come to an event? Check out our Simple Service ideas and try some out with your kids.
Cheer them on! Service can be hard sometimes (and that's a good thing to learn!) but we as parents can encourage them through the rough patches and remind them of the joy that will come when completed. As they serve more, it becomes less about them and more about others but especially at the beginning, cheer them on!
Have you seen positive changes in your child through service? Have some ideas to encourage your kids to do more for others? Share in the comments. We'd love to hear from you!