If you have teenagers, you understand the importance of completing volunteer or community hours as part of their high school years if they want to obtain scholarships. One thing many of us don’t quite understand is why it’s important to volunteer as a family. Many of us haven’t even thought of it, but now is as good a time as any to start.
I didn’t grow up in a traditional family; it was dysfunctional, so spending quality time together was non-existent, nevermind volunteering together. My adult life is entirely different, thanks to the good Lord.
My children have opportunities I never had. In realizing this, I also understand that I need to train them in the way they should go according to God’s Word. Part of that training is exemplifying and helping them practice how to serve others.
When we take our eyes off of ourselves and towards others, we have a new vision, a new perspective.
Most of us “get” that helping our children serve others will help them as they grow and become good citizens. It helps them follow the teachings of Christ. What then will serving do for our families if we choose to do it together?
In 2018, our little island (where I live) experienced a Category 4 Cyclone that devastated homes and livelihoods. The very next day, our family grabbed another family in our flatbed truck and went to check on the communities.
Our homes only had flooding, so after we cleaned up our places, we were off. We helped others pick up debris, moved trees off the road, brought water and food to people. It was such a surreal and somber experience. I could say that serving others as a family was an experience we will never forget.
Helping others lasted for weeks. Some people needed new roofs or shutters put back up; whatever we could do, we did. Volunteering to fill a need impacts others around us, and it develops lasting character in us.
Learning to serve others is central to the Bible’s message. After all, the Bible is about the story of Jesus, the ultimate Servant. Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Volunteering is not only something we teach our kids to do, but it is something the family unit should do together. I would say that it is one of the greatest commissions the Lord has given us. He leaves us with these verses to guide us:
1 Peter 4:10, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.“
We don’t have to volunteer just anywhere. The Lord has given us gifts, and it is perfectly fine to serve in the areas that the Lord has gifted us in.
As a family, consider letting each member of the family select where they would like to volunteer. Maybe, make a schedule and have everyone choose a slot for the specific task they would like to volunteer in.
John 15:12–13, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
When your family takes time and sets aside the norms of their regular lives, we are obeying God. In obeying the Lord, His lordship in our lives is expressed from Him to others around us and to whom we serve.
If you have never thought about volunteering as a family, you may want to take a moment to understand why it can be so important.
Here are a few examples of why it’s important to volunteer as a family unit intentionally.
Zero screen time
Planning a family volunteer opportunity takes the entire family away from all types of technology. For the time your family volunteers, phones are off and you are all focusing on the task at hand. Eyes are off “self,” off nonsense, and are focused on impacting people and the community.
Introduction to new skills
Sometimes volunteering can include skills kids can use for a lifetime. Parents can easily use the time volunteering to help someone with gardening, painting, cooking a meal, or mowing the lawn. All of these are tasks that will teach kids how to take care of their homes when they are adults.
Building self-worth and confidence (while practicing humility)
Serving others is the ultimate act of being humble. However, being a servant in volunteering creates more in us than humility. When we volunteer with or kids, we teach that they matter, they count. Kids understand that they can make a difference in someone’s life and their own life.
The Lord knows how children can be pretty mean at times. Our sinful nature makes it easy for kids to react to others in ways that are less than desirable. Volunteering is an act of kindness. We can show our kids how to be kind in how we help others and in relieving burdens for those who need assistance. Having empathy is something kids can learn, even from a young age.
If we let our children, they will forget to say thank you every time. We have to be consistent in teaching our kids gratitude. When your family sacrifices their time to give and serve others, kids understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them.
They learn to appreciate the things they have that others may not. Appreciation is a precursor to contentment. Giving our time as a family and serving to those in need helps our children reflect on the things they have and remember that material things aren’t as important as the world makes them out to be.
My husband thinks logically. He likes to know he is getting something done, so he is not a “stay home” and spend quality time type of person. Volunteering allows families to actively spend quality time together.
When you volunteer as a family, you are teaching each other how to communicate, how to work together, how to enjoy giving, and inevitably create lasting memories. Volunteering as a family is a priceless gift for your family and others.
If you need some help in finding ways to volunteer, then start small. Check out some ways you can all volunteer right from your home. You may also get some great unconventional ideas to volunteer as a family here.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!