My favorite time of the year is Christmas because I love hearing Secret Santa stories. Actually, I love any story about one individual or group helping others in small ways. The large ways are fun and usually amazing, but my favorite are the small, quiet, simple acts of service.
I have a strong desire to serve others and to teach my kids how to serve others as well. I believe it is a valuable lesson that will stick with them throughout their lives.
How do I teach my kids to serve if no one will let them serve?
Serving requires two sides – a giver and a receiver.
Without a receiver there is no giver.
When I really thought about this I realized I had been going about this all wrong.
I was teaching my kids backwards.
I needed to let myself be served so that they knew what that looked like. Sure I serve my kids many times a day. But, in their eyes it is just my job. It is just what happens. It isn’t anything special.
When someone – outside our household – is allowed to serve myself or my family we have something to talk about. We don’t need to come up with ‘what if’ situations. We don’t need to hypothesize. We can talk about acts of service that have happened to our family.
When we discuss those acts so personal to us, my children then start to realize what service is and what it feels like to be served. They begin to recognize acts of service.
Being served makes us want to pay it forward if you will. Being served makes us want to serve someone else in our own way.
The next time you want to teach your children how to serve let them see you being served first. Allow someone to open a door, hold a crying baby for you, or bring you dinner.
The best way to teach anyone how to serve is to see service happening in their own lives. Be the receiver. Be the one who allows someone else to feel good for serving you.