"In about the same degree as you are helpful you will be happy."
- Karl Reiland
As parents, we want to watch our children grow into kind, generous humans who have a desire and a heart for helping others. Finding the right opportunities to facilitate this growth is another thing, especially when you take into consideration the challenges that we have all been facing in the last year.
But your children themselves are an incredible resource when it comes to identifying needs in your community, and when you are able to equip them with the right tools, incredible things can happen!
Here are some ways that you can promote your child’s desires to be the change in someone else’s life, and develop a heart for service in their own community because it’s never too early to start!
Lead By Example
“Do as I say, and not as I do,” doesn’t cut with kids, because children model what they see. If you are already volunteering, one of the most powerful things you can do is to take them along and get them involved with what you and others in the community are doing for others. Plus, they will get to see the impact, and get to know other children who are being the change, and observing how a community can come together.
Ask Questions and Listen
Children are often aware of the struggles that their classmates are going through before adults, and may often have some very innovative solutions to propose that grown-ups may overlook. When we ask questions and listen to kids, we can uncover these needs, and help them gather the resources and good ideas they need to respond. There’s never any need to go looking for those in need, they are all around us, and by asking, taking the time to listen, and enabling kids to act, we can foster a great love for volunteering early on.
Let their Passions Guide Them
While there are no unworthy causes, the things that get your child excited, motivated, and inspired will be the areas in which they can have the biggest impact. After talking to your child about volunteering and encouraging them to accompany you, their talents and passions will begin to emerge and you will see their ambition and efforts grow the most in the direction of their calling. Just like what often occurs with adults!
Look for Unique Opportunities
This is a double edge sword; don’t assume that someone else has already thought of something, but don’t neglect to discover if there is already somebody working on the need you have discovered. There are many ways to serve, and many organizations doing what they can to alleviate a need in a particular niche. Let the needs your child uncovers in his or her own peer group guide your research, and then enjoy the process of discovering the right volunteer opportunities for your kids, and you!
Make it Regular Occurrence
While you, your child, and your recipients will no doubt benefit from donating your time, talent or treasure even once, making volunteering a regular part of your week or month will benefit everyone involved exponentially! Also, keep in mind that committing to volunteering regularly is one of the most flexible commitments you can make! There are times when you can donate more of your time or less depending on your family’s needs and interests.
Most volunteer opportunities are ongoing, so don’t be afraid to sign your family up for the long term, and be prepared to watch the blessings grow.
Look for Tangible ways to Help
One of the most useful ways that you can get your child involved in volunteering is by getting some real hands-on experience! Children of all ages can make a huge impact on the lives of their peers by helping provide them with something they might take for granted; a place to lay their heads at night.
If your child has never experienced what it’s like to have to sleep on the floor or someplace else unacceptable, they are indeed fortunate. Helping other caring children and adults provide less fortunate children with a safe place to sleep at night will not only give a needy child what they need but provide your child with an experience that will last a lifetime. You can find your local Sleep in Heavenly Peace Chapter here.