“I’m Watchin You…” – Guest post

He said I’ve been watching you dad, ain’t that cool
I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are
We like fixing things and holding mama’s hand
Yeah we’re just alike, hey ain’t we dad
I wanna do everything you do
So I’ve been watching you  – (Rodney Atkins)

Doesn’t every good blog post start out with the lyrics from a country song. That may be a stretch but this song eloquently or at least somewhat eloquently portrays reality.  Our children imitate us in so many ways.  When it’s kicking the door or wanting to be on electronics too much, no parent is celebrating.  But no need to focus on the negative.  They imitate the good things too.  A recent brief I read from from the Corporation for National & Community Service, found  that a youth with at least 1 parent volunteer is almost twice as likely to volunteer as a youth with no family volunteers. Among youth who are in families where both parents and siblings volunteer, 86 percent volunteer themselves, and 47 percent are consistent volunteers. 64 percent of non-volunteers reported that no one in their family volunteers. These are facts and statistics from the U.S. Census and other government agencies.  If the secular world we live in is touting the influence that parents have on their kids serving others, how much more should we as Christians pay attention.  Jesus, God’s own son, came to earth and served others.  How can we do any less?

Proverbs 22:6 ASV says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  American author Ellen White has this to say, “Children should be so educated that they will sympathize with the aged and afflicted and will seek to alleviate the sufferings of the poor and distressed. They should be taught to be diligent in missionary work; and from their earliest years self-denial and sacrifice for the good of others and the advancement of Christ’s cause should be inculcated, that they may be laborers together with God.” Testimonies, v. 6, p. 429. Wow, I don’t know about you, but that seems like a pretty tall order.   But how better to teach them than by our own example.

And while the biggest reward our kids will receive from serving others may be in heaven, there are benefits here in our everyday lives too.  According to studies published by serviceleaders.org in connection with The University of Texas at Austin, the benefits to youth volunteers are significant. It promotes healthy lifestyle and choices, enhances development, teaches life skills, improves the community, and encourages a lifelong service ethic.  In a society where bullying seems to be in the news weekly, serving those less fortunate also helps our kids to gain some perspective and empathy for others.

From the book “A Hole in Our Gospel” by Rich Stearns, I read this quote, “Being a follower of Jesus Christ requires much more than just having a personal and transforming relationship with God it also entails a public and transforming relationship with the world.  If your personal faith in Christ has no positive outward expression then your faith and mine has a hole in it.” Are we so busy living our “Christian” lives that we are neglecting to model to them that mandatory outward expression.  James 2:18 NLT “…’Some people have faith: others have good deeds.’ But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds?  I will show you my faith by my good deeds.’” Faith increases our service to others and our service to others increases our faith…and that of generations to come.

-Laura

Laura is a wife, mother and team lead for the Vancouver Wa chapter of God’s Closet. She enjoys hiking, camping and cooking. You can learn more about God’s Closet at www.godscloset.us/Vancouver and/or www.facebook.com/godsclosetvancouver.

Need some ideas on how you can get your kids, grand kids or neighborhood kids involved? Here’s some websites to get you started.

www.compassionatekids.com
www.volunteermatch.org
www.idealist.org
www.christianvolunteering.org

How are you getting your kids involved in serving others? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.

photo credit: Deanna Knoll

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  1. Donna Watts
    6 years ago

    Beautiful!!! We buried a good friend last week whose life personified service. Will we take up the torch he has laid down and carry it onward?