You may remember a post back in the Spring related to kids and teaching them to serve and do missions. I STRUGGLED to come up with and find ideas of things that are realistic for a 2 and 3 year old to do. I found a few really good ideas, including some great ones I shared here from Having Fun at Home. But that handful of ideas was about all I found and I chalked it up to the fact that the reality is, kids my boys' age really can't do all that much.
THEN, I got this lovely email from Kristen at Celebrate Everyday With Me about her new ebook Teach Me To Serve: 99 Ways Preschoolers Can Learn to Serve and Bless Others. This book has 99 ways for kids to learn to serve in all kinds of ways from in their own home to around the world. And the most exciting part in my world: ALL 99 ways are catered to preschoolers. Like stuff my kids can do. Right now. Realistically. I love it!
Some of the ideas take forethought and planning and some of them can be implemented immediately. Some of the ideas helped me make a minor shift in my mindset and see opportunities all around that I had never noticed! They are all practical and I think it will get the wheels turning in your own head as it did mine. I feel a fresh perspective and a renewed vision as I strive to instill a heart of servanthood in our home.
Here's one really small example of a mindset shift I had after reading this little book:
Every morning Isaac wakes up starving. He typically comes to my bathroom when he wakes up to find me getting ready for the day. I'll finish up what I'm doing and we'll head out to the kitchen to get a bowl of cereal to eat together. While I grab the cereal out of the pantry, he runs to the utensil drawer and grabs 2 spoons. I never gave it much thought other than the fact that I was glad it kept him busy for a second while I got the other supplies. That way he wasn't as apt to whine while waiting. After reading Kristen's thoughts about service starting in the home, I realized that Isaac was not only being a team player by helping me with the spoons, but he was serving me by getting a spoon for me as I served him. I've never asked him to get me a spoon, he just always has.That's how just ONE of the 99 ideas has made a difference in our home. There are a lot more that I plan to use and think that if you've struggled to come up with ideas for your youngest kiddos that you will be excited along with me when you realize that there really are a lot of options out there!
The more I've thought about it, the more ridiculously sweet I realize that his actions are and what an opportunity I have to encourage him as he shows consideration and love toward me. It's been a great way for me to teach him the word "serve" in a non-threatening way. Instead of it being a "you need to go do this and serve" (which could backfire and cause negative associations with the word if he wasn't interested in or didn't want to do what I told him to do), I saw something he was already joyfully doing and thanked him and encouraged him. I've pointed it out a couple of times now and he beams and enthusiastically says, "You're welcome!" each time I thank him for his kindness. It's so, so little, yet, I'm realizing it's also kind of profound.
You'll find very do-able ideas that you can do with your kids at home, in your neighborhood and community, at church and around the world. Some of them cost a little money while others are completely free. Even better, it gives YOU an opportunity to serve (which can be a bit tricky to figure out with little ones) AND creates some quality bonding time. Definitely a win, win!
I read this book in about an hour. It's mostly a short explanation about different areas of life that a small child can serve in and then a list of ideas that fall into that category. It's really more of a reference book of inspiration than anything and I think it's well worth the $3.99 (but you can even get it a little cheaper today and tomorrow! Check out the cool deal below! :)
Would you like to buy one or get a chance to win one? Then here's a couple of fun options for you!
1) I'm giving a PDF copy away TODAY only! I usually run a giveaway for a few days, BUT there's a discount code you can use today and tomorrow only, so I don't want you to miss out on the opportunity to buy it at a good price if you don't win. Just sign up for the giveaway below using your email or facebook account and I'll choose a winner first thing in the morning. Then, if you don't win, you can come back and get it really inexpensively!
2) If you decidee you want to buy a copy and use the code: whenyourise25 at checkout, you can receive 25% of your ebook. (This applies to the PDF versions ONLY)
3) It's available for the Kindle and Nook too! There's no discount available for this version, but it's still inexpensive enough that if you'd prefer it in this version, you won't regret the extra dollar spent.
How exciting is this?!? :)
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