February is the self-declared month of LOOOOOVE. Too often though we get caught up in the Valentine’s Day kind of love, and forget about the love that we as believers need to be showing – selfless, generous, giving love, that gives without expecting anything in return.
When we think about serving, we usually think about something that we DO for someone that meets an immediate need. But often the needs are so much deeper than we can see on the surface, so we need to be meeting those needs before they are even known or visible. The way we can do this is by LOVING others, always looking for where a need might be, being in tune to the Holy Spirit at work so we are ready to serve.
My blog name is Serving From Home, and serving is an area I really want us to grow in as a family. My word for 2012 is Intentional, and I want us to be intentional about serving others, finding ways to bless and show the love of Christ. This begins first in my own heart and life! So for the next 3 weeks on Tuesday I’ll be sharing some ideas for Simple Ways to Serve others – starting this week with Serving Your Children.
1. Let them help. While it may be easier, simpler, more time efficient and less messy for me to empty the dishwasher, clean up the toys, sweep the floor, etc., when one of my children expresses a desire to help me with something, I want to let them help. By letting them serve me, I am encouraging their desire to grow in serving – 2 birds with one stone!
2. Read. How often during the day do I hear “Mom, can you read me a story?”, and I’m just too busy with something else (so I think) to stop for 10 minutes. You don’t have to drop everything when they call, but make the time to stop what you’re doing and pour into their little hearts with a story.
3. Look/Watch. Another area that I struggle in is responding to “Mom, come look!” or “Mom, watch me!”. Are the mundane things I am participating in more important than cheering my boys on over the monkey bars or seeing some new Lego creation that they’ve made? I want to serve my children by being available to encourage, coach and cheer them on!
4. Give them chores. This is a two fold! Yes, they will be doing the work for you, but you will also be teaching them diligence and a job well done. It takes a bit of time at first, but start off small – setting and clearing the table, tidying up the front door, wiping doorknobs (especially after everyone has been sick!), emptying the dishwasher, wiping bathroom counters and faucets, dusting the shelves. Pretty soon you’ll have a whole team taking on the chores! It is important to serve our children by teaching them to work diligently.
5. Ditch the chores. Yes, you heard me! Well, sort of. Some days things are pretty hectic and nuts around here getting kids to complete chores and schoolwork. And some days I’ve been working them pretty hard with their school and they just need to play. So some days, I will take on their chores for them and let them have some fun. There are plenty of days and years ahead for them to get their chores done! But childhood is fleeting.
6. Do something fun! Not only will your kids enjoy it, but you will too. Take an afternoon off to go to the park, zoo, friends’ house, get ice cream, get wet, get dirty! Let your guard down a little, turn on the kid inside and PLAY!
7. Do something you don’t like to do, but you know your kids love. I am not much for crafts, especially ones that involve paint, glitter and play doh (the mess gives me shivers!). But my boys and Keeker LOVE doing crafts. So it is something I try to do once a week (I know that doesn’t sound like much!) that we can enjoy together. Whatever it may be for you that you cringe every time your kids ask to do it, bless them by doing it once in a while!
8. Discipline biblically. It is so much easier to let slide the areas our children they sin in. But not only are we being disobedient to God by not dealing with sin in our children’s lives, we are not teaching them and training them up in the way they should go. It may be a sacrifice and difficult to do now, but we are called to LOVE them, and SERVE them, by disciplining them. Discipline in love, and not for childishness, but for disobedience and lying, and use scripture to instruct.
9. Pray for your children. We cannot be prepared and enabled to fully serve them and love them without first committing them to prayer. I want to honour God and serve my children, but the motivation has to come from the Holy Spirit, and without his strength, I am not able. And pray for them in front of them! They need to know that you are praying for them.
10. Recognize them. You don’t have to swell their heads with praise or pat them on the back for everything, but it is so important to affirm and recognize our children when they have done and chosen well. Too often I am focused on correcting the wrong, and forget about praising the right. Write them a note or a letter about how proud you are of the changes you are seeing in their lives. Affirm them when they make a choice that is right but difficult. Encourage them when you see them loving and serving others. Pray and thank God in front of them for how he is working in their lives.
There are so many ways that we can serve our children, but it almost always requires a sacrifice from us. If you have a hard time being motivated to serve, ask God to give you a heart of love to be willing to do it!
I’d love to hear what some of the ways are that you serve your children! Please feel free to share in the comments!
Linking up with Top Ten Tuesday.