Teaching Our Children to Serve

This morning, I will drive my eldest son, the fourteen year old, to his first job orientation. Having already passed the health screening, he will complete paperwork, learn the dress code and rules of his new job, have a tour of the facilities and review the objectives of his new position. Eric’s new job, a student volunteer position at our local children’s hospital, will have him serving two four hour shifts per week as a liaison in clinical and inpatient areas.

Summer vacation is a time for refreshment and renewal. I’m learning, as the mother of a junior varsity football player, that it’s also the time for football practice, and lots of it. When I was growing up, my own parents discouraged summer jobs and encouraged family travel, summer learning and rest and relaxation from the busy school schedule. I hope to follow their lead in this respect, taking advantage of the chance to jump off life’s treadmill for a few short months.

Summer also seems like the perfect time to teach my children to look for opportunities to be of service to others. In my community, they abound and are varied and fun. The program Eric will join this summer places teenagers in responsible positions in a respected Children’s hospital. Our community also offers volunteer jobs in libraries, churches, schools and even mission trips. Our teens can help families build new homes through Habitat for Humanity or provide life-giving care to animals through our SPCA or zoo. They can teach art to children or serve at the right hand of a physician for a summer of research. The choices seem endless and fascinating.

One of my biggest goals as a mother is to instill in my boys a heart for loving and serving others, so Eric’s summer venture seems a means to that end. Along the way, Eric will also learn to show up for work on time, dressed appropriately and with a positive attitude. He will learn to execute his duties professionally and with compassion. He will meet new friends and will likely have fun in the process. Eric will serve in a volunteer capacity, so his pay for this job will be the smiles he receives from the patients with whom he interacts and the warmth in his heart that comes from knowing he is doing the right thing – helping others.

Lisa M. Hendey, wife and mother of two, is webmaster of https://www.catholicmom.com. Visit her at https://www.lisahendey.com