Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday: introduction

One of the (many!) things that I haven't been very good at and really, really want to do better is teaching my kids how to serve others. I admit that often in my life since having kids I have felt really overwhelmed and stretched to my limits (emotionally, physically, and even financially), feeling like I don't have anything left of myself to give beyond the walls of my home. Because of that I haven't really been looking for opportunities to serve others, and I haven't helped my kids do so, either. I want to change that.

I truly believe that those who have been blessed with more in this life, whether it is more money, more happiness, more time, more support, more family, more friends, more health, or more anything, have a responsibility to help those who have not. I have been blessed with a lot in my life and I want to share my blessings. I want to teach my kids to share their blessings, and to realize that they are very blessed. I also want to teach my kids that serving others will help you love others, and that even when you feel like you have nothing to give there is always something you can do. I want to be a more compassionate and thoughtful person, and I want my children to learn how to be compassionate and thoughtful as well.

Last week we were able to have an awesome opportunity to help our community. We have this amazing non-profit organization here that works with farmers to provide fresh produce to the local food bank. Every so often a farmer will donate a portion of his crops to this organization, and volunteers from the community help harvest the produce. Half of what is harvested is donated to the local food bank, and volunteers get to take home the other half. It is a wonderful way to help those who can't afford the delicious offerings of our area, and it doesn't even really feel like helping since we get a portion of said delicious food! We've been involved with the organization since we moved here last summer, and it's been a great introduction to service for our kids. It is a very real way for them to see how they are helping people, since they physically collect the fruit themselves and then personally divide up half of what they pick and donate it. Last week we were able to pick blueberries to donate, and I was surprised to see how eager my kids were to share what they picked. I was worried they might be upset when they saw half of our efforts given away, but they were so happy to be able to help people who couldn't afford to buy fresh blueberries. It was watching this that made me realize they are eager to help and I need to do a better job at giving them opportunities to serve.

And so I am instituting "Thoughtful Thursday" here in the Learn at Home home. I want us all to be more attuned to ways we can help others. Even though my kids are small, and I am stretched thin, and we don't have a lot of money to spare, we can still make a difference.

Since this is something that I admittedly am not that great at, I need your help! What are some of the ways you teach your children to serve? What are some simple ways small children can help others in their family, their school, and their community? And I need LOTS of ideas, since my goal is to do something once a week!!!



  1. Our boys love doing "sneak attacks" with their Dad to go put out the neighbor's trash cans before garbage day. You could adopt a park to clean-up each week or month, help weed a neighbors garden or share a plate of any "treats" you make.

  2. Take the time to get to know a homebound senior in your neighborhood. He/she might feel pretty isolated, so nice conversations could be enough. Our you could help him/her get to the grocery store, to medical appointments, etc. Your kids' grandparents live far away, but they can still learn the importance of honoring and serving our elders.

  3. Donate food, clothing and blankets to the homeless shelters. Donate dog and cat food to the animal shelters.