Sunday, January 9, 2011

Serving With Little Ones

Community Service has been on my heart a lot lately.  Before I had children, I was constantly searching for and involved with community causes.  In high school, I was president of our service club and served on a community teen council.  In college, I started and ran a summer program for homeless children at a local shelter.  As a young teacher, I helped begin a free after school tutorial program for our ESL students and an outreach program for their parents.  I loved serving others, especially children.  Before I had children, I imagined that I would continue to serve in the community, serving soup to the hungry with a baby on my back.  Tutoring in inner city schools while my toddler sat next to me in a stroller.  I thought that when I didn't have to go to work each day, I would fill my days with service to others.

I am not sure what happened.  I am not devaluing the service I render each day to my children.  I know it is the most important work I can be doing right now and I love every minute of it.  I wake up every morning overwhelmed with gratitude that this is my life.  That I get to be here in this home, with this man, with these children.  I love my life.   Which makes it even harder to understand how I allowed 6 years to go by without helping anyone outside the walls of our own home or church community.  I truly believe that "Because I have been given much, I too must give."  I want my children to learn to follow the Savior's example of healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and comforting the lonely.   And I want them to learn it by serving side by side with me and their dad.  I want to be a family that serves the community together.

I have read a couple of books recently that were wonderful and inspired me to want to do more.   I highly recommend both.

52 Weeks of Family Service does just what the cover says it does.  It shares meaningful ways you can help others as a family.  It even includes modifications for toddlers and teenagers. And Family Home Evening Lessons with every idea.

Passionaries was recommended to me by a friend.  It shares the story of several people who individually felt led to fill a need that they saw in their community or in the world. And then impacted thousands of lives. 

But before I go changing the world by starting my own nonprofit this week, I also found some neat, very simple ideas online on this blog that I love.   

Katherine Marie is challenging her family to do one random act of kindness together each week this whole year.  I love her ideas, and her kids are the exact same ages as mine! The services are very simple and age appropriate for young children.

I also have real life great examples.  I have a sweet friend who does "Friendly Fridays", choosing to do a fun service each week with her children.  She also recently hosted a community children's book drive for a local hospital.

My Sister in law holds a consignment sale and donates the profits to a community organization.  

I am not sure what I will end up doing, yet.  I am praying that my heart will be led to find a cause that my children and I can support together in meaningful ways.  I want to do better.  I would love to hear how you and your little ones find ways (or found ways, if they are older now) to serve in the community.


shelley said...

i often feel this way too. i don't do anything outside my home or ward. i would like to do more, and let my kiddos be involved. please post your success stories so we can try them for ourselves too.

Km said...

Thanks so much for the book recommendation!!!! I hope you have a marvelous year of giving with your kids! :) :)

Elyse and Steve said...

Thanks for the book idea. I'm looking forward to reading this. How are you? I hope things are going well. I miss ya!