Tonight our church staff hosted a dinner for the widows of our church. We do it about twice a year. We love it, and so do our ladies. It starts with the inspiration for a theme and menu, then out go the invites and before we know it, it’s time to get cookin! Honestly, I think it means as much to us as to them. It’s simply a blessing to share the evening and make it special for this precious group of women.
Part of the blessing tonight was the involvement of children. One of our staff has 4 young children, and it was a real privilege to watch how their children interacted with our widows. They came ready to serve, ready to love and ready to help. Their children worked along side our staff to serve plates of food and cups of water and lemonade to our ladies. After the meal, they helped the widows pick out sachet packets our children’s ministry had made the week before as take home gifts.
While standng at the table, I observed them chatting with our ladies, helping them choose their sachet, and talking about how they had been part of the group that made them. (They got to sew on sewing machines which was super cool for the kids and super impressive to our ladies.)
In a nutshell, I was blessed and impressed to see the kids genuinely caring for our elderly.
Good form, mom and dad! Good form!
So how do we teach our children to care for others, especially the elderly, lonely or widowed?
It starts through things like:
1) Taking the time to involve your children in others lives. Get to know your neighbors, Schedule visits to someone you know who may be lonely or isolated.
2) Developing your child’s gifts by allowing them to share love and care with others. Does your child like to bake? Bake something special and deliver it together. Do they like to draw? Create a picture and mail it or take it to someone. Are they workers? Let them help rake leaves or assist in a project with you to show someone that you care.
3) Not allowing your child to speak disrepectfully to others. Model and encourage speech that reflects kindness and patience. Teach your child to be a good listener.
4) Valuing others yourself. When your child sees you place high value on another person, they will be also put value on that person. Speak kindly to, and of, others in your child’s presence.
5) Putting others needs before your own. Teach your children to put others first by having them let others go first in line, have the best seat, hold doors for them, let them go ahead in a check out, putting away grocery store carts and offering to let others be served before they are when eating meals.
It’s really the little things, done consistently, that make an impact on our children’s hearts and how they care for others. Tonight I saw my little friends each show care and honor to others in little ways that added up to a big imact. I saw them living out James 1:27 as they helped show love and meet the needs of widows in our church.
But it’s not just about tonight. It’s about the days and nights to come. Because these little opportunties to love and care for others are helping to prepare them for a life time of being people who care, who serve and who love–living out a pure and faultless religion as they shine like stars and keep themselves from being polluted in a world hardened by a lack of caring.