Monday, August 20, 2012

Children and Volunteering

My younger boys with some of the clothing room ladies.
A few years ago my daughters began helping in our church clothing room. It was to be for only three or four weeks, but it's grown into three years now and my boys have joined the team. It's been a life changing experience for all of them.

The ladies they work with could easily be their grandmothers and great-grandmothers, and the love that's grown between them is comforting to everyone involved. There have been times I've not been able to accompany the girls to the clothing room, but I've never had to worry about them. I know their adopted grandmothers keep a close, loving eye on them.

Through working at the clothing room my children have seen and heard things I would've protected them from. The attitudes, language, tattoos and dress (or lack of it) they've been exposed to is enough to make me cringe, but it has been good. They now see a different side of life than what they see within the safety of the four walls of our home. It's opened their eyes and help them truly see the difference God makes in a person's life. It's also given them compassion to temper and displace the judgment they once felt.

My older daughter with some Clothing Room ladies.
Volunteering at the church clothing room has been a conversation starter for topics I wouldn't have thought to talk about with my children. As we work there, we often over-hear conversations of patrons and get a glimpse into their broken lives. We've talked about what's gotten people into the situation they're in and how to avoid such things. The kids have seen a glimpse of the dross of the world as it is, not the shiny face Satan tries to portray, and it's made a difference in their lives.

Instead of seeing those times as unwelcome exposure to outside influences, we use them as teaching moments. They've convinced me of a few things we need to do for our children, things that aren't always comfortable.

We should provide our children with...

  • ways to interact with others different than they are.
  • ways to serve others, both those less fortunate and those “better off” than they are.
  • ways to contribute meaningfully to the world around them.
  • a view to see the difference God makes in lives.
  • opportunities for volunteering, expecting nothing in return.

These opportunities are eye-opening for children and can help them develop into well-rounded adults who care about others and who are less judgmental of those who are different or less fortunate than they. It can safely show them the difference Christ makes in a life.

2 comments:

  1. Christ most definitely makes a difference in people's lives. We'd love to shelter our kids from the world, but exposing them to it, and then teaching them how to share Jesus with others is how we reach people. Good points, Patty. Your kids are well grounded. They'll be good teachers themselves one day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Have I told you how much I am LOVING this series?? So very excellent and important for me. THANK you.

    ReplyDelete

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