Service | Are We Teaching Our Children to Serve?

Last evening we spent our dinner hour at the same place we spend it each Tuesday evening. With a table of five to six youngsters ranging in age from first through fifth grade, we are what the leaders of our mid-week children’s program refer to as “table parents.”

Our role centers around bringing an awareness of gathering together as a “family,” sharing food and time and conversation, and polishing up our manners. It isn’t always a pretty role, but we enjoy participating with the children in our faith community in this way.

Our pastor offered grace. Her simple blessing included

thanks for the hands that grew and produced the food we were about to eat,

the hands that cooked, prepared and served our food,

and our hands that were available to serve someone else.

I believe we missed a great teaching opportunity at the table for the next several minutes.

While we were eating, we could have talked about what the word “service” means. Likely most of our group last night don’t really have that understanding.

We could have talked about the things we could do to “serve others” in our community. Most of these children don’t often get opportunities to do that.

Instead we played the telephone game around the table.

I wonder if we are really teaching our children about service, how to serve, and why we serve. I certainly hope so.

Teen volunteers received service certificates for helping out on Martin Luther King Jr Day at RTLibrary (via RTLibrary on Flickr)

Teen volunteers received service certificates for helping out on Martin Luther King Jr Day at RTLibrary (via RTLibrary on Flickr)

“Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among
you must be your slave. 
That is what the Son of Man has done:
He came to serve, not be served
— and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”
Matthew 20:26-28 (MSG)

What about your church community?
Are you teaching your young to serve and what that means?

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