Can I get a show of hands? Who is ready for football and pumpkins and riding boots?
The strong craving for Fall hit me this week. I’d had my fill of summer and began to count the weeks for when the school year would begin. Not so I can ship my kids (my oldest is still only 3) off for the day, but just for the routine of the school year- and yes, of course for the reprieve of the triple digit heat that comes with Autumn.
By this point, most of us have done all of the typical summer stuff with the kids, right? Bubbles, pools, splash pads, popsicles, maybe even s’more roasting (although, we did ours inside). Even with all the running to and fro from summer activity to summer activity, some of us desire the routine of Fall because then there will be more people to be around. Our “regular” people. Not the strangers a few feet from you at the beach, but the people you do life with. Summer can be pretty isolating, especially if you have little ones who can’t be out in the heat for too long. So, at this point in the summer, if you haven’t done so already, it’s a good time to start shifting gears from “what am I going to do with MY kids this week,” to “what are WE going to do with (or for) others.”
Parents of older kids and parents who don’t live with easy access of amenities, I promised you ideas, and this post is where I want to park for a bit.
Like I’ve explained before, these posts are not meant to provide a checklist or even a how to list for your summer planning; they’re meant to be a springboard.
So, here we go… SERVING.
“REALLY, Lindsay? SERVING? Who am I going to serve? I’m already serving my family 24/7. How am I going to serve? Where?” Simmer down, sweetie. I promise, I’m not talking about you taking the kids out for an entire Saturday into a rough neighborhood to build a house. Just step onto the spring board with me; that’s probably not where you’re going to land…
Do you know a new mom? Does she have other kids in addition to her new baby? Serve her with your kids. All together y’all make her dinner and take it to her, or go pick up her child/ren and get them out of the house with you for a bit. Too complicated because you don’t have enough car seats for that? Ok, have her drop her kids off with you AND YOUR KIDS at your house.
Beforehand, tell your kids what you’re doing. “Kids, today we’re going to serve Ms. Stacy by watching her kids Alex and Annie while she takes Baby Andrew to the doctor.”
Don’t know any new moms? What about someone in the elderly population or maybe someone who’s fighting a long-term illness?
If you have older kids who can help with yard work, go over and offer to pull their weeds one morning. Tell your kids what you’re doing. “Kids, today we’re going to serve Mr. Sterling by helping him with some yard work.”
Don’t like those ideas?
Do you live somewhere where your older kids could set up a lemonade or baked goods stand? Have them pick something that has meaning TO THEM and put a sign up that says “100% of proceeds going to ___________.” And put a picture up of exactly who the money is going to. And have them MAKE whatever it is you’re selling. Shoot, if they like to make yarn bracelets, they could make and sell those too. Remember, SPRING BOARD!
Do you want to launch an adult out into the world who is solely self-focused? I mean, we live in a culture that is SELF-focused. I don’t know about you, but I want to be ahead of the messages my kids are going to get from the world. I want for serving others to be a natural discipline. So, every time we serve someone, in any way, I talk to my kids in simple statements like those above. Service does not have to be a huge endeavor. Often we hear the word “service,” and all it connotes is “sacrifice.” I mean, if you’re making dinner already, make double; there you go. For you, yes there’s a little extra time and some extra financial expense there (plus whatever is required for you to deliver that meal to someone), but the blessing that pours out on the new mom who needs that meal is immensely greater than whatever you sacrificed to give it to her.
There’s a Berenstein Bears book we love reading to the kids that lays this ground work very well. Maybe check this book out from your local library (or do like me and order it off Amazon Prime), read it to your kids, and when you’re done, ask them who they could be kind to and how. Take their hand and pull them up onto the springboard with you, bounce and see where you land.
Until next time,
Do you serve with your kids on a regular basis? I’d love to hear about it in the comments?