Becoming a Family Who Serves

For a few years public and private schools required students to participate in acts of service. The thinking was that it would raise up a generation of young adults who gave selflessly of themselves to help others.

For some young people, it may have worked. Many however, just put in their required hours and moved on with their lives. God asks us as His people to serve Him, in part by helping others. The story of the Good Samaritan is a Christian classic. How can you raise kids who serve as part of their Christian identity instead of merely replicating what schools have done with mixed results?

The difference is in the heart of first you – the parents – and then how that is passed on to your children. The key is to make being children of God a part of your family’s core identity. Serving others should be more a part of your family DNA than the secular things that define your family identity.

There are some things you can do to make serving others a natural part of how your children interact with others:

  • Serve others regularly. If your family only helps others once or twice a year, it’s more of something you do to fill time – not part of your family’s DNA.
  • Start when your kids are toddlers. It’s amazing how much even the tiniest of children can do to help others. If your kids are well behaved, most groups will welcome them to work along side you as you serve others.
  • Don’t wait for formal programs. Look for opportunities to serve neighbors, friends and family. You want to teach your kids how to see the opportunities God gives us to serve others each day – not just when someone organizes a big service project.
  • Help your kids find ways to serve using the gifts God has given them. Don’t worry too much about those spiritual gifts in Corinthians. For now, focus on the talent gifts God has given them. Help them discover and develop the gifts God has given them. Then help them find creative ways to serve others using those gifts. Making a direct connection between the gifts God has given them and serving others will connect a lot of what your kids are learning about God to their actual life.
  • Don’t forget the faith piece. As things happen while you are serving, refer back to scriptures that discuss those issues. Find ways to share your faith as you serve those who aren’t Christians. Find ways to encourage the faith of the Christians you serve. The ministry of Jesus is a great example of connecting serving others and sharing the good news of the Gospel. Teach your kids how to do the same with those they serve.
  • Don’t forget to have fun. Yes, serving others and sharing our faith is serious business. That doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun. The fun doesn’t all have to be silly, laughing fun (although we still talk about the time our then four year old accidentally had her hair painted by her Nana as we were serving an inner city ministry). There is also fun to be found in using your gifts, seeing the relief or joy on the faces of others, learning new things, seeing new places and having new experiences.

Taking the time to regularly serve together as a family – making sure to bring God into the process – will help serving become part of your kids’ core identity. With hearts that belong to God, they will be well on their way to becoming productive Christian adults.

Do Your Kids Understand the Power of Social Media?

Do Your Kids Understand the Power of Social Media? - Parenting Like HannahYou’ve probably seen many articles about kids and social media. Maybe you are worried about even allowing your children access. Or perhaps you think it’s overblown hype that won’t touch your kids because they are different from others their age.

Your teens may want to use social media as a platform for the things that are important to them. Yet, few have adult led conversations about the positive ways they can use social media to serve others and share their faith.

If your teen is getting ready to join social media or has been on it for several years, it’s great to have a family discussion about the many ways they can use their social media platform for God’s glory. It’s also important though to help them think through the ways people often think they are making a positive difference, but may actually be making things worse or drive people away from their interest in God and Christianity.

There are a lot of things you can discuss, but these can help get the conversation started.

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A Great Summer Service Project For Your Kids

A Great Summer Service Project For Your Kids - Parenting Like HannahDone well, service projects can help your kids grow, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. They can help your children start to really understand how all of those pieces of their faith fit together to form a Christian life.

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Having Fun With Gardening, God and Your Kids

Having Fun With Gardening, God and Your Kids - Parenting Like HannahSpring is a wonderful time to have fun teaching your kids about God. His beautiful creation is blooming all around us. Trees and plants that looked dead, come to life with new greenery. The birds are louder as they call for mates or chirp warnings for nest builders.

Spring is also a great time to start a garden with your kids. The great news is you don’t even have to own land to garden with your children. There are a lot of great websites and books about container gardening and raising food from plants you grow in your house. (I found Indoor Edible Garden at Costco and it’s on Amazon for just a little more.)

As you plant seeds or tiny plants, care for them and wait for them to grow food, there are also lessons you can teach your kids about what God wants them to know. They don’t have to be formal lessons. Casual conversations as you plan and work often resonate better with children anyway.

So what are some of the lessons you can teach your kids while growing things?

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Fun Ways to Help Kids Become Great Listeners

Fun Ways to Help Kids Become Great Listeners - Parenting Like HannahHave you ever tried to tell someone something very important to you, only to realize they haven’t really paid attention to anything you have said? It’s incredibly frustrating, and causes many of us to avoid sharing with that person again in the future.

Or have you asked your kids to do something and realized they said, “Sure!” without even hearing what you actually asked? When it happens multiple times a day, it can make even the calmest parent want to scream.

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