Sometimes we need to get outside of ourselves—and so do our boys. Summer is a great time to nurture a little “other-centered” activity.

As moms, we serve all the time. Sometimes that creates a consumer mindset in our boys as they wait to be served. Why not turn the tables?

Get the whole family together to brainstorm. Ask, “Who do you think needs help?” and “How can we help them?” Take your cue from your sons. Are there things they can do themselves to help a neighbor, family member, or friend? Are there family activities you can do together?

If they’re anxious to start, remind them that there are many ways to encourage others. They can pray, write notes, draw pictures. Don’t force the activities, but let the boys be the source.

It’s important to talk about why we serve others. We love because God first loved us, and our love is manifested in actions. Our actions show our hearts. If you’re like me, your mom-servanthood may not always have been joy-filled … as you pick up those shoes for the fourteenth time. When we focus on others and not our own inconvenience, we serve with a godly spirit. Sometimes that’s a little easier to do when you’re helping those who don’t live under your roof. But a great thing about serving others is it increases our own awareness of our blessings, which extends back to our service at home. It’s pretty hard to serve someone and not go back home with a grateful heart for what you’ll find there. There are other important lessons for our sons in serving.

When our boys serve, they are:

  • Showing “it’s not always about me.”
  • Weighing what they love—their time, their goods—and deciding what is most important.
  • Being counter-cultural in a “give me more” society
  • Becoming other oriented—increasing their ability to put themselves in others’ shoes.
  • Realizing they are blessed and sharing that with others.
  • Walking the way of the Savior, the One who came to serve.
  • Glorifying God and blessing others.

As our boys exercise their servant hearts, we need to affirm their actions, proclaiming their generosity so that we remind them what a blessing they can be. They’ll come away knowing that they’re part of something bigger—God’s plan for His glory!

Even More Ideas for a Service-Filled Summer:

The Kindness Antennae by Julie Wilson Brasington

Raising Caring Kids by Carolyn MacInnes

17 Kid-Friendly Service Projects