Developing Your Child’s Skills for Service

Developing Your Child's Skills for Service - Parenting Like Hannah
Photo by F. B. Nashville

One of my friends shared something interesting with me the other day. She said it is hard to find younger women who know how to bring home-cooked meals to people who need them or organize dinners for large groups of people. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to help, but they really didn’t know how to do it.

As we analyzed the situation, the light began to dawn. During our childhood, most of our mothers stayed home. We might have participated in one activity a week as a child and at times none at all. What resulted was a lot of time at home with our parents. Times when we invariably annoyed them with complaints of boredom.

Since there were few activities to enroll us in, they enrolled us in helping them do whatever they were doing. This meant many teens could cook entire meals for large groups of people, make simple repairs around the house, sew, knit or display dozens of other practical skills.

Today, many children are in daycare or child care until almost bedtime. Those who are in school often have an activity every night and every weekend day. Our children are often only home long enough to sleep and bathe.

No problem, we tell ourselves! Our children will be wealthy enough to hire someone to do those things or they can learn them later. The problem is that our churches and those around us are hurting for skilled volunteers. We are living in a world of hurting people. People who need to be taught skills so they can support their families, people who can no longer care for themselves and need help with repairs or meals, people who need someone to explain to them God’s Words and much, much more.

Have you ever painted a room with someone who had no idea what they were doing? Especially if they didn’t really want to be there? The resulting dried drips leave a disaster that is a pain to correct. (I know from experience!) Would you want someone to teach you how to manage your money that had never been taught to make a budget? Or receive a home-cooked meal from someone who didn’t know food safety rules?

Yes, God can use anyone, any way He wishes. The Bible is full of examples though when God took the time to make sure someone was prepared before doing God’s work. From Moses’ lessons in school to Paul’s ability to make tents, many of the people in the Bible used practical skills they had learned (most likely from parents) as a part of their service to God.

Society tells us the most important thing we can give our children is whatever money can buy. Which is more and more each day. Perhaps, what God really wants them to have is parents mentoring them and teaching them the skills necessary to serve others. What if David’s father had never taught him how to use a slingshot or Tabitha’s mother never taught her to sew? We need to take the time to examine what our children are being taught and by whom. Are we doing everything we can to raise servants for the Lord who have the skills the Lord has gifted them to use? Or do we just assume our children will pick them up somehow along the way?

What skills are your children learning? Which of them can be used to serve others and teach them about God? What role do you believe parents should play in preparing their children to have the skills necessary to serve others effectively? If your children do have practical skills, how have you taught them to serve and teach others about God at the same time? Please share your thoughts in a comment below.

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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