What Kids Need: Helping Others

In this photo, you see a teenager helping an elementary student play a game or with homework.  In a survey on youth by the Search Institute, it shows that kids believe that it is essential to help others and work to help them improve their lives.  I would agree.  I would also add that if the entire family is involved in helping others, it becomes much stronger and even more of a definite asset for kids.  There are numerous opportunities in most areas, such as local food banks, shelters, faith-based organizations, homeless kitchens, and others.  Service to others helps kids to know that they can make a difference regardless of their age.

Most neighborhoods have a few homes where older adults live.  How effective would it be to make contact with them and have your young person stop by to help with a few chores, or even to sit and talk?  The first time you set this up, go with them and tell the person that you are helping your child to learn service to others while helping someone out in the community.  Helping others will begin a long relationship that can continue for many years.  Some families have family meetings and brainstorm ways to serve others in the community. He gets everyone involved, including the adults in the home.

It is essential to help others, even when it seems uncomfortable or risky.  For example, it may seem risky to help clean up homeless camps, but when arranged through the city or another larger community organization, it is beneficial to everyone involved.  Form relationships with national service organizations and help your young person make those connections.  When I was younger, those organizations for me were my church, Boy Scouts, and DeMolay.  All three of them did service in the community and helped me to expand beyond myself.

I challenge each of you to help your child adopt an attitude of adding value to others by arranging for some service they can perform.  Better yet, join them and make it a family affair, you will enjoy it more than you can imagine.  The benefits far outweigh the actual work involved.

Yours for Better Parenting,

Rich