Kevin and I have 3 girls ages 5, 8, and 11. Every Saturday morning around 10:30 we all pitch in to do some weekly chores, mostly cleaning bedrooms and bathrooms and generally tidying up. Every week there is resistance by all three of them to some degree.
Some weeks are better than others but really none of them enjoy this Saturday ritual. They seem to feed off of each other. If one of them is being miserable about doing their job it isn’t long before all of them are in conflict about what is fair and what isn’t.
This past weekend our little community of Port Hardy experienced some crazy weather. When the girls went to bed on Friday night they knew it was raining (which it does A LOT of in Port Hardy). When they got up Saturday morning they had no idea that there was some serious flooding.
Our house and neighbourhood were fine but Kevin headed out to see if there was any way that we could help. I gave the girls a bit of a pep talk about cleaning because I thought there was a possibility that we might end up having to house people who had been affected by the flooding.
Their response to cleaning was absolutely joyful this Saturday. They understood how blessed we were to have a dry, safe home with power and were excited to do their jobs so that they could serve others. No tears, no fighting, no procrastinating. They felt useful and needed.
My kids were happy to serve, it completely changed their perspective on what they would normally consider to be a torturous task. Their response really got me thinking about what meaningful ways we can encourage our kids to serve and use their gifts.
It turns out that we didn’t need to house anyone. However, the positive response of my girls to the immediate need to serve has inspired me to trust them with serving in other ways that I may not have before.
So here’s my question to you: In what ways have you encouraged your children to serve? What has been their response?