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Growing Service in Your Kids at Christmas

 

12 Days of Christmas Parenting

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner! It seems like we just celebrated Thanksgiving a few days ago. This time last year, I posted a holiday blog tour called: “The 12 Days of Christmas Parenting”  on the blogs some of my favorite people. This year, I’ll be posting those articles on my blog for those who either missed it last year – or need a reminder for some practical ways to lead your kids during this busy season!

I’ll share tips for parents on how to navigate the difficult traps of the holidays, and create moments with life long impact. We’ll talk about 12 ideas to combat ingratitude, selfishness and impatience — and encourage generosity in your children, especially through the holidays.

This post originally appeared on the blog of my friend Ron Edmondson. Ron is a co-pastor and church leader at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, TN. He and his wife, Cheryl, are proud parents of 2 grown sons.

 

Tim

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 Growing Service in Your Kids at Christmas

In our recent work with students, Growing Leaders has drawn some interesting conclusions. We have seen a shift take place among the young people in Generation Y. (The kids born in the 80s are different than the kids born since then.) The research is in a new book called: Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future.

One of the shifts we’ve uncovered is that kids have moved from “activists” (who want to change the world) to “slack-tivists.” They still want to change the world — but sort of. They often don’t really want to work hard or make sacrifices. They’d rather sign a petition on a website, get a wristband and then return to a video game or YouTube. They’re more self-absorbed than their earlier counterparts. So, how do we grow a heart for service in our kids today?

Try this.

In preparation for Christmas, prepare a list of Saturday chores to give to your kids. The list can include items that need to be done prior to the holidays — setting up decorations, cleaning rooms, preparing desserts, whatever. Obviously, include items that are age-appropriate.

Without telling them, hide an envelope with money in it, tickets to a ballgame or the movies, and put it where they’ll find it if they do their chores very thoroughly. For instance, if you ask them to clean the sofa, you may hide ten dollars under the cushions. They’ll see it only if they have worked hard and carefully. In other words, the reward comes when they have served well. Winners are the ones who work with excellence. Hopefully everyone will win.

Afterward, talk about how Jesus came at Christmas two thousand years ago. He said, “to serve, not to be served” (Matthew 20:28). Have a conversation about how Christmas really is about serving — God serving us and people serving each other.

“With good will serve each other, as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord…”  (Ephesians 6:7-8)

What can you do to grow service in your kids this Christmas?

 

1 Comment

  1. Jared Ingle on December 16, 2011 at 11:25 am

    This post reminds me of last weekend.  My family of four participated in Appalachia Outreach, a Christian initiative to offer gifts and the Christmas message in three of the poorest counties in the region.  After the first night of setup, I decided to give my two young sons some perspective before the big day of meeting and giving to others.  I used Matthew 25.31-46.  When we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison, then we do it to Christ.

    After I shared Christ’s words, I asked if they understood.  My oldest son said in dismay, “No we haven’t visited anyone in prison!”  Trying to hold back the laughs, I told him he might visit someone in prison someday and added, “What’s important is that when you se the faces of all the children who need clothes and food, you see the face of Christ.”

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Growing Service in Your Kids at Christmas