By Sarah Nichols, Contributing Writer
Sometimes, as a mom, it’s easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day bustle of managing a household and raising children, that I forget to be intentional about character development. One character quality I really want to develop in my children is a heart to serve and bless others. I believe that we can start encouraging our children to bless others at a very young age.
Why Should Our Children Learn to Bless Others?
The Bible is very clear in how we are to treat others. In Matthew 22:39, we see that the second greatest commandment is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” We are commanded to not only love our neighbors, but to love them as we love ourselves. Finding ways to bless others is a great way to show this kind of selfless love.
Furthermore, in Galatians 5:13, Paul admonishes the region of Galatia to “serve one another in love.” I think Paul hit on a key point. If we are serving out of compulsion or because we have to, it is not going to bless other people as much as if we are serving out of love. But how do we teach this to our kids? How do we instill this in their hearts? Here are 8 practical ways we can help our kids learn to bless others:
8 Ways to Help Our Kids Bless Others
1. Welcome a New Neighbor to the Neighborhood
Bake some cookies with your kids and deliver them to the neighbor with a homemade greeting card.
2. Visit the Elderly
Around the holidays, call up your local nursing home and inquire if there are any residents who have no family to visit them. If there are and they are willing to accept visitors, have your children make up a homemade card and go for a short visit to make a new friend. Although it can be outside many of our comfort zones, this can be so rewarding for all parties involved.
Have your children go through their toys and pick ones they don’t play with anymore. If they are in good condition, take a trip with your kids to your local homeless shelter to donate them.
4. Invite another family over for dinner.
Get your kids involved by letting them help pick out the meal they think that family might like to eat. They can also help set the table and pick a game to play.
Have your older children teach a younger child to do something. It could be anything from ‘how to color in the lines’ to ‘how to catch a ball’.
6. Lead by example.
Show the kids what it means to bless others by being a blessing yourself. Stop and help the car stranded on the side of the road, give the hungry person holding a sign on the corner a bottle of water and a gift card for some groceries, smile at people, etc. Your children will see your actions and (hopefully) want to follow your example.
Prayer is a powerful way to teach our kids to bless others. In James 5:13 it says “Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.” We can teach our kids to pray for those that are suffering and to rejoice with others for their good news.
8. Help Out a Weary Mother
Have a play date to give a tired mother a period of rest. I have had people do this for me and it has been a huge blessing. Your kids can plan a couple of the activities and a snack. If they are too young to plan activities on their own, they can practice sharing their toys with their friend.