“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” Matthew 25:40
Raising our children to be givers not takers is important. Raising our children to think of others and care for others in need is important too.
The question is how to go about doing it? Â In a world where the latest and greatest is King and advertisers work overtime to reel in our children to a life of materialistic worship, we are certainly swimming upstream.
Service Opportunities for Kids
Our kids have so much stuff! So much that they take for granted. As they get older it becomes apparent how much they expect, and how much they take for granted as necessity. We have been looking for service opportunities for our family and the older boys in particular. An activity they can get involved in to give back and perhaps open their eyes to the suffering of others a bit.
At our parish we have a St. Vincent DePaul food pantry ministry. Each week food is collected from parishioners for the food pantry at the beginning weekend masses. Then one day per week the pantry opens and people can come and get food. The pantry operates through the donations of others as well as volunteers to help organize and distribute the food.
Food Pantry Ministry
The St. Vincent ministry will post needed items in the church bulletin. Each week at the grocery store we try to remember what the requested item is for the week so we can make a purchase. The younger kids do a great job of reminding me both at the grocery store and then again to grab the bag of items as we head to mass. This is a good start. We talk about why we are buying the “extra” food and where it goes when we drop it off. However, the older kids needed more. They needed to be active participants, not just passive observers.
Each week the ministry also looks for different volunteers to help distribute the food on Tuesday afternoons. Bingo! This is where they need to help. Some physical labor, always good for boys, and some real life interaction. The hands and feet of Jesus.
Our kids truly have no idea what it’s like to want for any necessity. We feed our turtle organic spring mix for pete’s sake! They need to understand the reality of what many people face on a daily basis. We take for granted that we can go to the store and fill up our cart and leave.
This was a good experience for my boys and one that we will do on a regular basis. They may not fully appreciate the lessons and experiences right now, but hopefully as time goes on these experiences will help mold and shape them.
How are you helping your kids help others?