Angela’s kids love to serve others. It’s obvious by the way their eyes dance when they serve you the treat they just baked, or by the way they smile when they ask if you need help clearing the table.
When Angela was asked to share how she’s encouraged serving in her kids, she decided the most honest answers would probably come from the them, not her! So, the following are the responses from Angela’s three oldest girls (the two-year-old twins aren’t doing as much serving yet), when asked what they’ve learned about serving, and how they’ve been encouraged by their mom (and dad, too) to serve.
1. The kids have noticed that they catch their excitement for serving–especially in offering hospitality–from their mom. When there’s a chance to host their mother/daughter group or a new family from church, their mom is enthusiastic and joyful! She helps build their anticipation by talking about their guests before they arrive. She might gather the girls to pray for the family coming for lunch, or share a funny story that involves the friend who’s coming for tea. Or before Grandma arrives, she might ask the kids what fun memories they have of previous visits. This builds enthusiasm.
2. Angela (and her husband) talk a lot with the kids about vision for the future. They wonder aloud how God will use their girls, and what their particular gifts are. They dream together with the kids about how God might use them, even now as kids!
3. Angela often reminds her girls that this is the time in their lives for training and learning and preparing for their future.
4. As they serve in lots of various ways, Angela tells her girls that each serving opportunity is a chance to discover more about their unique gifts. Serving allows them to test out their gifts and find out what they’re good at (and not so good at). It’s exciting to learn about who God created them to be!
5. Angela asks her girls to serve alongside her, rather than delegating. So when they are preparing food, or working in the community garden, or sorting clothes at the pregnancy center, they are all working together. It makes an encouraging difference when mom is right beside them, doing the work, too.
6. Angela often reminds the kids about true joy and heavenly rewards that come from serving.
7. Angela also talks often about the lasting, eternal value of their serving. They aren’t just sorting clothes or making a meal or hosting their moms & daughters group; they are having an eternal impact on other people!
8. It is clear that each family member (well, maybe not the twins as much, yet) is to participate in serving. There might be one person who isn’t looking forward to serving in some particular way. Or maybe the girls aren’t quite as excited about serving without the fun of their small group members there. But they find that serving is almost always rewarding and enjoyable in the end–something they would have missed out on, if they hadn’t been expected to participate.
9. Angela is training her kids to look for opportunities to serve, not just wait to be asked. A phrase she often speaks is, “Let’s look for ways to be a blessing.”
10. Angela’s kids have learned that serving is part of normal, everyday family life–not just when friends are coming over. Serving always involves laying down your own desires and putting others first.
Thanks so much to Angela, for agreeing to let us learn from her mothering–especially in the area of serving. May we all cultivate serving hearts (which is how we reflect Jesus!) in our homes.