High up on our to-do list this year is serving others. Why you might ask? Well, for a couple reasons.
We feel that serving others is the best hands-on way to put some of those "heart" lessons into practice without actually hearing a lecture. What does showing compassion for others look like? What does it feel like to share what one has with others? Can one feel gratitude after helping another?
We also feel that our children's "socialization" experience should be balanced. They should have opportunities to learn from and interact with a wide variety of people. Once they set out on their own, they will need to be able to communicate and work with people who are younger and older than them. So, we expect that volunteering will help them get comfortable with people from all walks of life.
We've talked to our children about what serving might look like, and they were very eager to tell us they would like to volunteer at the Humane Society. They've donated allowance money and organized an art sale to financially support the Humane Society. But they look forward to getting to a more intimate level with the animals at the shelter...feeding bunnies kale, playing with a puppy who could really use a friend, and changing the water and litter boxes for the cats.
Tonight though, I realized that service can be quite simple, although likely not as exciting as the Humane Society. Tonight, we had family over, and we were preparing supper for 12 instead of 5. That's quite a few for one to prepare for! And while our children didn't voluntarily help, they didn't moan or complain the entire time. And I think they enjoyed it because a lot of the food came from our garden and they were excited to share it with others. My daughter mentioned that it felt like we were on a farm as we brought in mint and cilantro and lettuce for our supper.
Actually, when I look back at the pictures I took, I do see that there was some voluntary work done! My son making a knotted rope for his cousins to use to climb up to the loft in the playhouse.
They may be little gestures, and I'm so grateful for their help. I think our guests also appreciated their efforts.