Welcome to Day 3 of my 10 Days of Teaching Values series. Today’s topic focuses on one of the most important things (besides the Bible) we’ve added to our homeschooling schedule – service and leadership opportunities that lead to beautiful character growth AND benefit others.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Homeschool Service and Leadership
In our home, learning to serve plays a major role in values training. Of course, we train our children to serve one another in our home, but we’re also intentional in finding service opportunities outside the home.
As soon as our children are able to take part in service activities, we get them involved! Helping to clean up after a co-op event, setting tables for a bereavement dinner at church, and taking out the trash for grandma and grandpa are all simple to-do’s even for little ones.
Preparing and serving lunch at the soup kitchen
As our kids get older, we actively seek opportunities to serve. Working at the soup kitchen, making meals for shut-ins with the youth group, and bagging groceries at the food pantry are some examples.
Believe it or not, not once have my children complained about these times of work! Oh, they will complain quite often about chores around the house, school assignments, not having time to watch a favorite tv show, or how often one of them touches the other in the car! But, there’s something magical about serving others outside the home that makes us all very humble, eager, and incredibly thankful for the blessing of serving others.
It’s through these experiences that my children have also learned values such as empathy, acceptance and compassion. It’s truly beautiful to watch your children joyfully serve others.
Making mop ponies for a children’s home for Christmas with the K.E.E.P. Youth Council
As my children have gotten older, I’ve found that serving in leadership roles to promote values training, too. My children have been part of youth councils for various things like 4-H and the Kentucky Equine Education Project. They have attended leadership conferences for Christian youth and helped set-up our state’s annual homeschooling convention.
With each of these opportunities, I’ve watched my children mature. They’ve learned work ethic, respect, perseverance, cooperation, confidence and so much more. Not to mention, in each case they’ve made wonderful friends who share common goals.
Bagging food at the local food pantry
Where to Start with Service and Leadership Opportunities
Just where do you begin involving your children in service and leadership opportunities? Well, that answer depends very much on your child’s age and what is available in your area. I’ve created a list of ideas to get you started below.
Just for the record, I address the topics of service and leadership in my book, Homeschooling Gifted Kids: A Practical Guide to Educate and Motivate Advanced Learners in Chapter 8 “What About Socialization?”!
You certainly don’t need to have gifted children to participate in these wonderful experiences, though. ALL children benefit in such character building moments! What are you waiting for? Start thinking seriously about how you can incorporate more service time into your homeschool!
I’d love to hear what you’ve done in your homeschool to serve others!
Tomorrow’s post…Teaching Values Through Chores and Jobs.
More Character Resources