Last week I wrote about being a servant, here and received this question from a reader that I wanted to address, because I think it is a common concern for moms.
Q: God has definitely brought to my mind that I am to lay down my life for others and that includes my husband and children. I really liked what you included in this post about servants not worrying about being used because often that thought creeps into my mind. I’ve also read other messages/blogs/books where people have said that a home should not be child-centered… How do we serve our children without making them think that the world is all about them?
Our goal is to model Christlike service motivated by love, and to teach our kids the same way of life. I think we often have extremes envisioned in our minds: One is of a ragged mother, who day and night washes, cooks, cleans and picks up after her kids who never do anything but make messes. The other is of a mother who sits on the couch while their kids fend for themselves all day. One is totally child centered. The other is just plain negligent.
When we care for our homes and children well, we are serving them. We cook, clean, mend, iron, braid hair, fix treats, etc. These are all normal things that mothers do because they love their kids and husband. But, as you might have noticed, children are not naturally helpful. They are naturally selfish, and it is our job to train them in all areas of Christlikeness, including service.
It is a matter of the heart. Are you going to serve yourself or others today? So, when our kids were young, they all had a morning chore that they did in order to keep the Beals household running well. And they were actually punished if they did not do their part. Self discipline, dependability, faithfulness and responsibility are all LOVING things to teach a child. I think that many a misguided mother has worn herself out and run herself ragged thinking that she was serving her child by doing everything for them, when in fact she was enabling a child to be unfaithful and irresponsible.
I would praise your kids when you see them serving one another and correct them when they are tending to be selfish. In my own experience, kids tend to go in “selfish cycles”. They do well for a while, then fall into selfishness again. They are battling the flesh. In our home, our kids seem to excell in serving in specific ways. Holly makes Hope tea every morning and asks us all if we would like some. Emily tends to run to the aid of anyone who is feeling under the weather, offering heating pads or Tylenol, depending on your ailment. Bek tries to surprise me by organizing my “hot spots” or clutter in the house. Matt serves by running out to get the groceries for me when I come in the driveway. Of course, things are not perfect around here and we certainly have had our times of training due to selfishness.
It is also important to serve together as a family. Again, hospitality is a great way to train your children to serve others.
How do you balance serving and training your kids to serve others?
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