The biggest shopping season of the year is here. Throughout the year, we are bombarded with advertisements trying to get us to click, buy, or visit a store to get the latest deal. The new toys and games will be on the market and our kids will probably see and want them all.
Today’s society is dominated by consuming and receiving. As dads, we have an opportunity to influence our kids and point them in a different direction. In fact, it’s our responsibility. We encourage you to help your kids learn how to give and serve others.
During this holiday season, show your kids how to focus less on themselves and more on others by doing a service project or giving gifts to those who are less fortunate. Make it a family tradition to do each year, even throughout the year.
Here are 10 service project ideas to do with your family.
1. Clothes and toy drives.
We periodically do this in our house. Our kids play with only a handful of their toys and, of course, they outgrow their clothes. So we gather up what we can and give them away to someone we know, to Goodwill, or to an organization that helps those in need.
2. Create manna bags.
This is one of our favorites and we actually do this year-around. Visit your local bulk grocery store, like Sam’s Club or Costco, and stock up on several nonperishable food items. Have the kids pack plastic storage bags with the items you purchased and deliver them to individuals in need. We typically keep a few bags in our car so we are prepared when we see a homeless person or someone in need.
3. Sponsor a family.
There are so many organizations that give you the opportunity to sponsor a family or a child. Use Google or referrals from people you know to find organizations where you can be a sponsor.
4. Volunteer your time.
Don’t just limit your service to giving things or money; teach your kids to give their time.Don’t just limit your service to giving things or money; teach your kids to give their time. Last year, our homeschooling community volunteered to clean the chairs in the sanctuary of the church where we meet once a week. Each kid had a wipe of cloth, and we all walked aisle by aisle cleaning off the chairs.
5. Put together a care package.
Find a missionary or member of the military and put together a care package to be sent to them.
6. Clean the house of someone who is sick or pregnant.
We are blessed to be in good health. Some people you know may be having health challenges and the things that were simple and easy to them are now a challenge. Helping with housework can be a great benefit to them.
7. Visit a local children’s hospital.
I’ll never forget the time we had to take our son to the local children’s hospital for some health issues he had. While it was very scary for us, the local volunteers and people that visited there made it an amazing experience for him. Comforting others in times like that can help them in ways you can’t imagine.
8. Clean up trash at a local park.
Not everyone values our parks and places of recreation. As a teen, I worked a summer for the local park department, and we always found trash at the parks. The challenge: We didn’t visit every park every day so some trash remained for a while. Have your kids get gloves and garbage bags then help by cleaning up trash and debris at local parks.
9. Random act of kindness.
Find a stranger or a family you know and do something kind for them. A suggestion: Give them a card with some encouraging quotes or favorite Bible passages. Just be kind to someone — for no reason at all.
10. Save their money and pay for someone’s item in the checkout line.
When my wife and I were younger, we’d go to our favorite restaurant where we were seated at a table with total strangers and the food was cooked in front of us. It seems like every time we went someone offered to pay for our meal. I’ve heard this done in grocery stores as well. Have your kids save their money and take it with them to the grocery when they go with you. Find someone in line to bless by paying for their items.
Remember: This season is not about how much we receive; it’s about how we impact others lives. Teach your kids to focus on being a blessing to others by serving throughout the month.
If the shoe were on the other foot, and you were in the position of needing help, how would you like someone to serve you?
Huddle up with your family and say, instead of focusing on what we get this season, let’s focus on what we can give and how we can serve. Here are some ideas.