The Christmas season is chock-full with enjoyable (and occasionally not so enjoyable) family oriented tasks and events. Most of us cherish the joys associated with all of that, especially as we watch our children embrace the “reason for the season.”
In that light, I was thinking about the need for our kids to truly understand the concept of giving and serving. In Galatians 6:10, Paul instructs us to “…do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” But how can we get our five years olds to think of someone besides themselves? How can we challenge our preteens to enjoy, really enjoy serving someone else?
And then I saw a recent article in the magazine, “Parent/Child.” It was entitled, “Make Your Hometown Happier,” and it had all kinds of very practical ideas showing kids how they can give back to their communities.
Let me share a few of those ideas:
- Have your kids clean out their closets and focus on all the outgrown sports gear. Apparently there is a nonprofit organization (sportsgift.org) that supplies sports equipment to underprivileged children. Look them up and let the kids do the collecting. They can walk your neighborhood or challenge their Sunday School class to help.
- Encourage your children to do extra chores and then reward all that hard work by purchasing a TisBest gift card (TisBest.org). These cards function just like a gift card, but instead of your child spending it on themselves; they use it to support various charities that they might be interested in. You go to the site, put the card number in and the recipient charity gets the donations. One stop giving for children!
- Apparently some of the Ronald McDonald houses will let families serve together. Your children can bake, cook, make decorations and then go share it with a family that has a sick little one. I am not sure which houses allow this program, but it is a great idea. I’ll bet other children’s homes /foster kid programs/ soup kitchens etc. would allow some form of this service. Make a few calls. Great way to involve all the children in your family.
- “Meals on Wheels” (mowaa.org) is a great program that provides meals for shut-ins. But “presentation is everything!” Your kids could help cheer up some seniors in your community by decorating lunch bags or the outside of serving bowls etc. Then the food that is delivered will have an “extra bit of cheer” right there on the outside. What senior doesn’t love the artwork of a child?
- All children love animals. Give the local animal shelter a call and see if they would like some toys for the critters waiting for a new home. Cat toys are easy (socks, cotton balls, dried catnip). Or, your children can volunteer to walk the animals and ease the work for the shelter staff.
However you choose to do it, get the kids involved. This holiday instead of bemoaning the fact that it is a hurried and hectic let’s find some practical ways to help children do good!
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel