Windy Shull, an elementary teacher, married and a mother of three shares how their family has found ways to serve over the years:
I very much want my children to have servant hearts. Our opportunities and ways to serve as a family continue to change and evolve as my children get older. We have had seasons of taking care of another family’s children one night every week for a variety of reasons. For example, one young couple really needed a date night, one mom was temporarily a single parent as her husband’s job moved him before the rest of the family, one baby went through a super fussy phase and her parents needed a break, etc. Before taking on our “Tuesday Night Baby” (or any of the others), we had a family talk about the need and how we could be “help” together. The girls not only prepared activities, stories, and bottles with me. We had opportunities to play with fun kids together.
When we know of specific needs, we deliver dinners to people we know. The girls help with every step: planning the menu, grocery shopping, food preparation, and actually delivering the meals when appropriate. The girls even have parts of the menu that have been their special side dishes. When my daughters were younger, they also decorated the paper grocery bag we delivered the meal in. Again, we have had periods of time when we delivered a meal once a week to families for a variety of reasons: a mother on bed rest, a friend with a prolonged recovery from medical complications, etc. As a family, we spend time together finding variety in menus, preparing a lot of food, learning perseverance, being creative with food, and showing love.
Similarly, we make and deliver cookies to new neighbors. The girls help prepare and we go together to welcome and get to know the people we live close to.
Another way my daughters have learned to serve is through Crossing Kids. Crossing Kids is a safe and convenient way for older children to serve younger children. Larkin and Anna have been volunteers at Kids Club since they aged out as participants. They look forward to Kids Club just as much in the helper roles. Anna served in the Crawlers nursery on Sunday mornings with me for a year, and now continues to serve there twice a month. She frequently assists in the elementary classrooms with me as well.
We look for opportunities to serve others and understand that at different times different things work better for us. Our schedules are full and the extra weekly commitments don’t typically overlap. When we had our Tuesday night baby, we weren’t also delivering a meal every Thursday. When we saw the opportunity to go help in Joplin after the tornado that worked great for us (Larkin, Anna, and I went). A couple of weeks ago, Molly and I noticed a neighbor’s yard full of leaves. So, we took a friend and played in the leaves while raking and bagging them all up.
Seeking opportunities to be a blessing to others has become natural for my kids. Serving others have been fun opportunities to be purposeful and positive as a family. We’ve spent a lot of time laughing every step of the way. Intentional time together and working alongside my daughters is truly blessings.
1 Peter 4:10-12
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.