Several of you have mentioned to me that you love the idea of using Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve with your children…but the idea of reaching out and doing that many acts of service for people is a bit out of your comfort zone. Or, what if you’re new to the area and don’t really know a lot of people? You’ve asked for advice, so I’ve been brainstorming some ideas to make it (hopefully) a little easier for you and your family to cook “Soup for someone who is Sick” on Ss week, or take a new “Book to B________” on Bb week.
The following ideas are simply offered as a way to get you going. To help ease you out of your fears. To gently get you and your family used to visiting others and putting smiles on their faces!
- Utilize extended family members, even if it means you have to send something through the mail. Family (hopefully) will feel safe to you and will be an easy beginning to getting your family in the mode of making something to give to someone. Plus, I’m pretty sure if your child sends something homemade to a grandparent or aunt…the appreciation and feedback they’ll receive will be pretty huge. Family members LOVE your kids an awful lot. :)
- Pull out your church directory if you have one. Looking through the directory together may help give you new ideas of people you could serve.
- Do some of the acts of kindness anonymously. Don’t rely on this one too much, because you will receive such a wonderful blessing when you deliver something to someone and are able to see the smile on their face. But there is something to be said about the gift of surprising someone by leaving it on their porch for them to find when they come home. (I will caution you though that if someone left a homemade goody on my porch and didn’t tell me who it was from…I may not want to eat it. I’m just sayin’. You might want to reserve the anonymous act of service to be something more inedible.)
- Visit a local rest home to carry out some of your service. Sometimes it’s easier to visit with a complete stranger, knowing that your visit will make their day, than to visit with someone who is, say an acquaintance from church.
- Pick some of your children’s good friends. It’s awesome to reach out to people you don’t know as well…and to people in other generations…but WOW it’s fun to knock on your best buddy’s door to deliver a Jar of Jelly beans on Jj week!
- Make it a team effort. Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve is meant to be a project for the whole family anyway. Piling in the car all together and visiting your recipient all together is so much easier than going alone with just one child.
- Ah, who am I kidding? Your kids are so cute, the person you’re serving will ooh and ahhh over your child and the fact that he/she came to do something kind…and that in and of itself with be a huge buffer in your comfort level. Seriously, if you’re worried about what you’ll talk about when you’re visiting someone…just visit about your project and other things your kids are doing. People love that.
- On the other hand…be sure to ask the other person questions…especially if they are sick or have been going through any kind of struggle.
- Don’t feel like you have to stay and visit with someone for three hours. Have your child hand over the goodies (whatever they are that week!), explain your project and maybe tell why your family chose them and then if the timing seems right, you can then be on your way.
Just think of the blessing you are giving your child! By starting them on the journey of service now, as they get older…thinking of others and serving them will become a natural part of who they are.
And I promise (because I speak from experience!) the more you serve with your children…the easier it will be for you too! God does amazing things when he “stretches us” beyond our comfort level a little bit. You know what you alone are capable of, right? So when you do something for someone that pushes you past your comfort zone, you KNOW that you’re doing it only because of the awesome power of God. It’s an incredible feeling.
God is so good. You can do this!