My Daughter has a Dream Too!
Ever since my children were born, my prayer for them has been that the Lord would use them in a mighty and powerful way. I hope that most parents have a dream that children grow up and will make a difference in this world. I know I do and today I started to see this happening. This morning my wife, Holly, sent me a picture of something my 6-year-old daughter, Caitlyn, wrote for school. She had to write about her dreams for the world based on Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. (See picture below for her Dreams for the World) I was and still am completely amazed and humbled to see my daughter’s heart to serve people’s needs. I believe that God is going to use Caitlyn in a very big way to reach out and meet people’s needs.
Now, I know that it is God that has given Caitlyn a heart for people, but I can’t help but think that Holly and I are doing something right by teaching her how much Jesus loves her and how much He loves the world. Seeing my daughter’s words got me thinking about the younger generation and serving. What would the world look if the younger generation really understood what it meant and knew how to serve people with the love of Jesus Christ? We live in a world where we have a “me, myself, and I” mentality and this needs to change, especially in the church. We need to become more of the hands and feet of Christ! Paul encourages us in Philippians 2 to become other people minded when he wrote: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2: 3&4 (NLT) For some people, serving is more natural than others, however, it is also something we can learn and grow to do in life. As I look back over the past 5 years I realized there have been three things that Holly and I have done to encourage and help grow Caitlyn’s desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus. These three things are something that I believe every parent should implement in their own lives with their children so that the next generation of young people will be better at serving others in their time of need.
1. Teaching the importance of Serving Early. Our words can have a strong impact on our children especially when they are younger! We teach our kids the importance of using manners, doing the right things and sharing at a young age, why not teach them the importance of serving. For the Christian/Christ-follower serving and meeting the needs of others is important! When Caitlyn was about 2 ½ years old, I began pastoring a church and I started a non-profit organization called Never Thirst. Never Thirst delivers and passes out water in areas that have been hit with natural disasters. It was during this time I began to teach Caitlyn that there are people who sometimes need help and it is good for us to help if and when we can. If we don’t teach our kids to be kind, compassionate and other-minded people, then this world will teach them differently. They will be become more self-centered and selfish than they already are and when that happens people suffer. So teach your children to serve!
2. Model serving others. Not only do we need to teach them the importance of serving, we need to show them how to serve. If we just teach them the importance of serving but don’t show then how it is done then they will not know how to serve. Since Caitlyn was 2 ½ years old, she has watched me serve people at the church as a pastor and through passing out water. There have been times that she has asked me what I was doing or where I was going and I would tell (teach) her where I was going and what I was doing. Then when I would come home I would show her videos and pictures of where we’ve been and how we served. I remember when she asked if she could go with me to pass out water. She said “Daddy, I want to do what you are doing.” It melted my heart! She was watching what I was doing and wanted help. My friends, your kids are watching you! Model serving and watch your children come alive!
3. Encourage them to be Involved in Serving Early! Like I said, Caitlyn has been watching me serve people in different ways since she was 2 ½ years old. However, it wasn’t till this past Christmas that I got her involved in serving people. Now Caitlyn has not gone to pass out water yet, she did go with me to a local nursing home to sing and pass out blankets to the residents. Caitlyn had a great time singing and seeing the smiles on the people’s faces when she handed them a blanket and told them Merry Christmas. I believe it is not enough just to teach and model serving others; we must be the hands and feet of Christ and so should our child!
While you don’t have to be a pastor or start a non-profit organization to teach, model and get involved in serving people, you can start serving anywhere and anytime! There are all kinds of opportunities to serve. Working in homeless shelters, soup kitchens, or orphanages are just few ways to be the hands and feet of Christ. If your community doesn’t have those things in your area, that’s ok; there are other ways you can also serve the people in your community. You might be able to mow an elderly person’s yard for them or offer to help them fix something in their houses. Honestly, it doesn’t matter, just start teaching, modeling and encouraging your children to serve.
My daughter has a dream to help people who need clean water, who are hungry and children who go without at Christmas. Your children might have the same dreams or something similar. Truth is, we need to teach, model and get them involved as early as possible so we can start making a difference in this world today and not wait till tomorrow!
How have you accomplished this with your children? I would love more ideas from you!