How do you teach your kids to serve? Take them with you!
In back to back publishing days, our local paper, The News Enterprise, featured an article by my mom & a picture of me. She was advocating for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for kids struggling to make it. I was in a group picture of our RITI (Room In The Inn) board receiving a large check from our local Heritage Council.
The connection? Serving. Along the way my mom and dad taught me to serve. How do you teach your kids to serve? Take them with you.
Along the way, there were lessons in school, Sunday School, civic events and graduation speeches about serving others. All of that is helpful but the #1 way I learned about serving others was from my parents.
Serving is who my parents are, so that’s what we did. And we were along for the ride. Their actions were punctuated with words like help, drive, donate, provide, take, give, love, and share. Serving was, and still is, the overflow of their hearts.
Little wonder that while serving together recently, my dad was bragging to me about the folks in our church helping the community by parking cars in the pouring rain. All the while, he is jumping in & out of the van to help load & unload families: in the same pouring rain & mud—at 77 years old! It never occurred to him that he was performing a great service too. Serving is just who he is, so it is what he does.
As a college kid I was attracted to Lee Ann’s beauty and charm. One of the beauties of her soul was the way she served others: a very poor mother had to ride the bus from Louisville to Bowling Green in the hopes her daughter could attend college. Lee Ann cared for them all day & gave them a ride back to the bus station. It’s who she is so it is what she does.
When I met her family what did I find to be true? Yep. They were active in serving church and community.
Lee Ann’s hero in life is her grandfather, Oran C. Teater, whom she simply called Ghee. A retired school teacher, coach and superintendent, he still substitute taught well into his 80’s. All the kids loved this stately, jovial, white-haired gentleman. His last day on earth he stopped by the school office to make sure that one particular kid was getting the help he needed. He just wanted to make sure he was not going to fall behind.
At our church leadership retreat I was about to present new ways for our church to serve. Moments before, I received the name and picture of a 100 year-old woman from my daughter. Her leadership group at UofL just finished taping plastic over her drafty windows as winter approaches. Ghee, your granddaughter and namesake captured your serving spirit!
Last Saturday churches banned together through Helping Hand of Hope to deliver 100’s of boxes of food & toys to our community. As I helped load the vans, trucks & SUV’s I saw plenty of little ones in car seats and teenagers helping to lift the boxes.
What a joy to see! Some of these kids were wide-eyed with excitement; others, sleepy-eyed and not sure what their parents were doing & why they were up so early. Good job parents! Your example speaks volumes and will echo in the actions of your kids.
And as we serve, our action connects with something far deeper. It is our Savior Jesus who came to serve and not to be served and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).
So, how do you teach our kids to serve? Take them with you!
Pastor of Missions
Grace Heartland Church