Sunday, August 18, 2013

Teaching Children to Care for Others

caring for others
Our Family of Five
Friday is the day we care for Grandma. She was in the hospital about a year ago for more than a month, then assisted living and now we care for her on Fridays. We take her groceries and manage her medications. We often take her for doctors appointments and routine outings and if it is a holiday someone in the family pics her up for dinner. It isn't always easy, it doesn't always fit into our schedule just right. Sometimes we are grumpy and we don't want to go, but we go every Friday and I can tell that my kids are better for it and so is my Mother in Law. We are teaching them through consistency to care for others.

Teaching Through Foster Care

This experience caring for grandma preceded another opportunity we had to teach our kids to care for others through serving as a foster care family. We only served for 6 months but it was an experience that changed their lives and I wouldn't trade it for the world even the hard parts. It didn't turn out the way we expected, we were part of a fost adopt program and although we successfully transitioned our little girl back to her birth family, we fully expected that she would become an adopted part of ours. That did not happen and instead our children learned that sometimes you give love that you do not get in return, sometimes you show love in hard circumstances, sometimes you have to love and let go. They also learned a little more about what love looks like. Love doesn't always look pretty, love has boundaries, loves often says "no." They learned what it is like to share the love of a parent or extended family member and they learned that love often has to make sacrifices and hard choices. These are all the hard lessons that our society is lacking these days. The very reasons that we have so many kids in the foster care system.

You don't have to have a sick relative or participate in foster care to find opportunities to teach loving. There are ministries all over your town that would love to give you the opportunity to volunteer; there are homeless in need of lunch on just about every corner these days. Clean out your closets, visit a shelter or nursing home. Actively teaching your children to care for others will equip them to serve throughout their life.
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