Families modeling service, seeking justice

I have kids celebrating birthdays today, which means it’s a very family-focused day around here.

So I thought that I’d take this opportunity to share some inspiring stories of families showing their children why serving others matters, and, more importantly, how to do it. I’m always looking for examples, and for ideas of how we can volunteer together as a family.

We raise money for projects quite often–Sam had a lemonade stand to support agricultural assistance to farmers in Africa last year–and we give ‘alternative’ gifts for every Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and for Christmas and other occasions, too. We have packed food at our local food bank, and we have done voter registration and community awareness activities, too.

For me, as a parent, the messaging matters.

Volunteering isn’t something we go to do for other people, because we pity them or because we have something they lack, even.

It’s something we do because we’re part of a connected world, and because it’s how we live consistently with our values and give ourselves the opportunity to connect meaningfully with the larger society.

The cliche, of course, is that volunteers ‘get as much as they give’, but, for me, it’s not about how good I feel when we help, it’s about what I’m doing to cultivate the kind of kids I want to raise.

Those who serve because they crave justice, I hope.

Because it’s my kids’ birthday, if anyone wants to gift us some great ideas of how children can volunteer–organizations renowned for working collaboratively with our youngest servant advocates, or inspiring models–we would be grateful.

And, on this special day at my house, a toast to family–that which lives within our walls, and that which surrounds us, in all humanity.

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