Seeds of Service

This morning's post is from good friend and long time CARE for AIDS supporter Kylie White.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” Aesop

Early on in our marriage, we wanted our kids to love to serve others. Yet how do you cultivate that in a “give me, give me” world? We knew it would have to be more than a lecture, but it would have to be a life experience. We explored what it could look like to be generous as a family. Tithing to our local church was our first giving priority, but we knew our kids wouldn’t see us writing checks and be itching to be a part of that. We decided, as Donald Miller would say, we would have to live a great story: a wild and exciting adventure of loving others and serving Jesus. Our kids would have to experience the feeling of joy fueling your heart as you serve if they would want to live out this story after they are out of our home. So it started small, we started around Christmas after seeing the “Light ‘em Up” idea on Courtney Defeo’s blog. We blasted the tired mall workers with Candy Canes and free Chick-fil-A sandwich coupons, we put gift cards and cookies in our mailbox for the mailman, we sneak attacked our trash men with colored posterboard signs of our appreciation. The kids were loving it! It was spreading joy throughout our Christmas season and shifted the focus on “what am I getting” to “what are we giving next?” Then our story got forever linked with CARE for AIDS when my husband took our 5 year old to Kenya. It was no longer a comment or prayer around the dinner table about hungry kids, it was a memory. We soon took two of our other children there and sealed the story of our family. Service became the heartbeat of our home. Our kids saved quarters in their piggy banks for our center in Sinai, we had yard sales, the kids sold African beaded necklaces. God created our hearts to love others, so of course he designed our hearts would feel most fulfilled when we were serving the people he spent time with: the lost, the sick, the vulnerable child, the hungry.

I think as parents, it is a challenge to see how our kids can be part of our generosity or ministry, but it begins with a small step, like Aesop said, a small unwasted act of kindness. And God can fan that spark until your family is on a wild adventure of loving and serving others.

Courtney Defeo has created this amazing booklet that is a family guide to a #summerofservice. It has brainstorming pages, family discussion questions, and lists of ideas to serve others this summer, whether you have toddlers or teens in tow.  All proceeds of this 5$ booklet go to CARE for AIDS! You can purchase one here.

Join our family this summer in surprising someone with an act of kindness, or go larger in scale and host a neighborhood yard sale or car wash to benefit amazing ministries like CARE for AIDS!  As we tell our kids, short lived happiness may be found in having, but deep lasting joy is found in giving!