I am old. Really old. When I was a teenager and wanted to learn about something, I had three options. Trust my parents to have the answer, use our set of encyclopedias or drive five miles to the library and hope they had a book or magazine with the answer. Now, in a few seconds, I can have millions of answers to a question on my computer screen right in my house.
In those olden days, you either had to trust the few sources you had available or you just sort of forgot the question. Today’s child has millions of possible answers to their questions in a few seconds after they ask it. The problem is that some of them are accurate, some are partially accurate, some are wrong and some are just too weird to even consider. With so many answers to choose from, how do we know whose answer we can trust?
When my daughter started kindergarten, I remember a very long list of people signed up and were almost fighting over becoming the room mothers of her class. I was a little too busy to volunteer to be room mom that year, but expressed surprise to a more experienced Mom whose youngest child was in the class.
“Don’t give it a second thought,” she said. “They will start disappearing next year and by fifth grade the school will be begging you to be room mother.” She was absolutely right. I was the class room mom for the next several years and noticed a huge drop off in parental involvement. Now that my child is a teenager, she knows girls who basically only see their parents a few minutes before bed and maybe a minute or two in the morning.
One of my favorite things I did when my daughter was young, was to start a mother-daughter book club. We met once a week during the summer, discussing the chosen book for the week. Every meeting featured crafts, games, refreshments or a field trip. The club included many of the girls in her school class and their moms.
Now I wish I had made it at least partially, if not entirely, a Bible book club. We tend to forget that the Bible is actually sixty-six separate books put together in one volume. Some books like Ruth and Esther are basically one long true story, while other books have multiple true stories within them. There is even poetry and wisdom literature.
It seems like every week there is another news story about a child who is kidnapped or murdered. Parents are much more cautious with their children than our parents were with us. Most of us have probably trained our children from a young age to be wary of strangers and to memorize the phrase “stranger danger”.
As Christians, though, God has made it very clear he wants us to entertain strangers and help those who are possibly out of our comfort zone. The ministry of Jesus made it very clear that God does not want us to reject people who are different or maybe even a little scary. Jesus definitely set an example by reaching out to all kinds of people who would have been considered undesirable by the religious elite. He even had a tax collector and a Zealot as two of his apostles.
Parents often have a difficult time finding service opportunities for their family. Many organizations do not allow children and even teens to volunteer because of liability issues. Even churches sometimes make it difficult for a family to do a service project together.
The good news is that it is very easy to plan your own service project. If you follow the steps below, your project should be successful. Someone in need will be served, your family will learn the value of serving others and God will be glorified. As an added bonus, your children will learn a lot of practical life skills that will help them in other areas.