There is a sweet elderly lady on our street that just had to send her husband to a nursing home. He has dementia and was wandering off.
You can see the sadness in her eyes.
A few nights ago, my children saw her out weeding her garden. They said, “Mommy, we feel so sorry for her; she looks so sad! Can we please go say hello and cheer her up?”
I love these teachable moments where the Holy Spirit grabs a hold of our little ones’ hearts and plants tiny seeds in their souls. It’s those tiny seeds that, over time, will grow mighty with roots that dig down deep into the soil of their hearts.
Psalm 1:1-3 says
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on His law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
Our goal as parents is to raise our children with solid convictions, so that when the temptations come, they have a firm and solid foundation.
Here are 31 ways children can finish off the summer well and give back to others by showing God’s love:
1. Write a letter to a friend and put it in the mailbox.
2. Draw a picture and mail it to your teacher to tell them that you miss them and are thankful for them.
3. Bless the mailman/woman by leaving them a gift and thanking them for their hard work.
4. Do some yard work for a neighbor.
5. Volunteer at a soup kitchen with your family.
6. Organize a toy drive for the children’s wing at your local hospital.
7. Participate in a 5K walk as a family to raise money for cancer or another important cause.
8. Bake cookies for a family at your church you want to encourage.
9. Paint a picture for your grandparents and mail it to them.
10. Help a sibling learn how to read.
11. Make a tutorial video about something you are gifted in.
12. Put together a box full of goodies for a person in the military and mail it to them.
13. Help out with a ministry at church.
14. Get together some neighborhood friends and clean up trash.
15. Make some crazy loom bracelets and raise money for a favorite charity.
16. Make a get well box for someone who is sick.
17. Write out special prayers for children in need.
18. Write thank you cards for your pastor/deacons.
19. Take turns cleaning your siblings’ rooms.
20. Offer to help your parents babysit for another family’s children.
21. Give up all electronics for one day and spend time doing things for others.
22. Go on a local missionary trip as a family.
23. Pay for someone behind you at a drive through. Leave a tract with the cashier to give to them.
24. Start a kindness jar. Place ideas of ways to be kind and take turns picking from the jar and exhibiting those acts of kindness.
25. Invite friends to Vacation Bible School.
26. Bring someone wild flowers to your teacher at church.
27. Listen without interrupting or arguing back.
28. Continue clipping box tops to bring back to school.
29. Write a sidewalk chalk message to a family member to express your love for them.
30. Teach your children to hold the door open for people and praise them when they do.
31. Help your parents make a meal for a family who just had a new baby.
These are just suggestions. Replace any with your own creative ideas that fit your own family dynamic.
One of the biggest struggles our children will face is learning to be content and thankful. If our children can grasp the spiritual discipline of contentment, they will be able to see beyond themselves, and reach out to others.
The book The Blessings Jar is an excellent book about this very topic. One day a little girl named Alexa Grace is having a grumpy day. Her grandmother introduces a blessing jar idea to her. The blessing jar is a way for Alexa Grace to count her blessings by placing them in a jar. Alexa Grace goes on an adventure, looking for all her many blessings. Soon, the jar is overflowing with goodies, and she realizes how truly blessed she is.
Here is our daughter reading The Blessings Jar to her brothers:
Isn’t that the truth? Sometimes we don’t realize how very blessed we are until we look around and count our blessings. Consider getting this book for your own family. Maybe you could create a blessings jar and go on a little adventure of your own? You could even use the above “31 Ways List” and when you do something on this list, write it down and place it in your very own blessings jar! Write a little note on the back of how God blessed you and your children by blessing others.
How do you teach your children to have a heart of compassion for others? Have you been able to witness the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of your kids through reaching out to others? How have you helped your kids to show God’s love?