I spent last weekend with a bunch of 12-18 year old kids for a church activity that we call Youth Conference. The theme was “Mission: Possible” and we spent two days giving the kids opportunities to serve other people.
My group took a tour of Catholic Community Services, an organization that provides treatment and emergency services and refugee resettlement. We learned a little about refugees and the difficulties they face in having to flee their homes and countries and come to a foreign place where they do not speak the language or understand the culture.
I wanted to write about this because when my children are older I want to take them back to CCS to learn about the struggles that some people endure to give them some perspective and help them be grateful for what they have. Kids need to be reminded that they are not the center of the universe and that there are people out there who have absolutely nothing and who are constantly in fear of being killed or worse. This would be a great learning and service opportunity for families. CCS is very happy to take people on tours and give them service opportunities, so if your children are old enough, this would be an excellent family activity.
After our tour at CCS we served lunch at a soup kitchen, another great idea for a family activity. Serving others as a family is one of the best ways to teach your children how to be more thoughtful of others. And you can’t beat that feeling you get when you do something kind for someone else. Kids need these kinds of opportunities to do something completely good and unselfish.
Devoting two days to helping other people really reminded me that I am happiest when I am thinking more about others than about myself. I need to schedule times to deliberately help other people so I can always remember that happiness comes from helping others. Maybe I’ll see you at the soup kitchen!