President George W. Bush stated during National Volunteer week in 2002 that, “citizen service has always been a cornerstone of our democracy. Since our founding, Americans have stepped forward to serve the needs of others, strengthen our communities, and defend the freedoms we treasure.” With that, he called on all Americans to give at least two years – or 4,000 hours – during their lives in service to others.
This directive from our president is more than an individual responsibility, it is a family obligation. As we teach our children the tenets of scripture, let’s not overlook the opportunity to show them how to do good for others. This can be an very rewarding experience for the whole family.
Bill Maier, vice president and psychologist at Focus on the Family, says that serving and volunteering as a family, “makes children less likely to fail in school or drop out, abuse alcohol or drugs, participate in premarital sexual activity, suffer from depression, commit suicide or get involved in criminal activity.”
In addition, he explains that family service also helps parents model to their children a positive character, teaches the value and rewards of service and fosters family togetherness.
We can also teach our children to value other people, and that there are others in this world who have needs beside them.
There are many ways for a family to serve others, including:
- helping the homeless
- ministering to the sick
- befriending the elderly
- raising funds for worthy causes