It’s not too late to join our 12 month challenge to teach your children to live more like Jesus. This month we have been adding the idea of teaching our children to help the hurting. Not just serve them by meeting their needs, but sharing the Gospel message with them as we show them God’s love.
If your family has been searching for ways to help the hurting people of the world, you may just be overwhelmed. It seems like every time I open the paper, read my mail or turn on my computer I am bombarded by stories of people who are hurting. Some in ways I can’t even imagine. All of these people could use our help, but we only have a limited amount of time, energy and resources to give.
Most non-profits will tell you one of their biggest battles is convincing people to no longer be apathetic about the social problem their group is trying to address. Many spend countless hours and dollars developing ways to help people understand the urgency of the problem. Groups like charity: water and Toms have actually done a great job of informing and engaging people about their mission with creativity and style.
We know our world is filled with more problems than we can count. We know God commands us to serve others and teach them about God. The pure enormity of the problem is overwhelming. So overwhelming, most people become apathetic. It is easier to block out all of the problems and opportunities and focus on our little world, where we feel like we have more control. The problem is, not only are we not in control of anything, the problems of the greater world can become so large they begin to invade our personal worlds. I think everyone learned that lesson in very real and horrible ways during World War II.
If you are following our 12 month plan to teach your children to live more like Jesus, we have already covered Bible reading, prayer and Christian relationships. April is the month to add “training your child to help the hurting with love”. Sounds easy, but it is actually more complex than most people realize.
This is going to sound a little strange, but a lot of times people help those who are hurting with the things that they would want and not necessarily what the other person actually wants or needs to feel better. I think we get tangled up in the whole empathy thing and think it means what we would want done in any given situation is what everyone would want or need.
After my post on Parents Waiting for God(ot), the question was asked, “What are some every day ways kids can serve God?” Service projects are obvious ways to serve God. I have a ton of ideas for service projects detailed in other posts or pinned on Pinterest. While service projects are great, they are often not things you can do every single day.
There are plenty of other things your children can do every day to serve God. These projects don’t cost any (or much) money or require large blocks of time set aside to do them. There is one important skill you will have to develop in your children though, to make them successful in every day service to God.
Are you in a service rut with the teens in your family or youth group? It seems as if there is an unwritten rule stating all teen service projects must involve painting some portion of a building or doing yard-work. By relying on the same types of service projects over and over (often with only the locale changing), we are denying our teens an opportunity to explore how they can use some of their talents for God.
Recently, we had a few teen girls over to our house to work on a project. Going into this project, all of them claimed to have minimal artistic talent. Yet as you can see, the results were adorable. The girls were making these particular onsies for their youth minister’s new baby. This project would be great for the girls to do again and donate the finished products to shelters catering to mothers and infants who are abused or homeless.