Boy picking up garbage in the park

Teaching Kindness

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart if you care—then do me a favor:  Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

I had a youth pastor friend once asked a group of parents, “What do you want your children to know before they graduate from high school?” As a parent, my list was pretty long:  Balance a checkbook, change a tire, carry on a conversation with an adult, look someone in the eyes when you speak, respect others, know that above all else they are loved, be kind to others, just to name a few.

It’s that last one that I want to spend some time on now. Each of those things requires that we are purposeful with our teachings. We are never going to learn to change a car tire by simply watching NASCAR. We have to go outside, get the jack and lug wrench out, and show our kids how to do it. The same is true for being kind to others.

One of the best ways I know how to teach kindness is to provide our kids with opportunities to volunteer with a local nonprofit and forget ourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Many opportunities are available for us as parents that are simple for us to actually do. Spend time at a food pantry, visit a nursing home, or even do some yard work for a neighbor. Being kind can simply be putting someone else before ourselves. Taking the time out of our busy schedules to volunteer together helps our children see the world does not revolve around ourselves or even our family.

We are starting a new initiative to live out kindness to our community by volunteering together.  If you or your family would be interested in joining in on one of our service projects, let us know and we will invite you to join us next time we lend a helping hand.

by Chad Garmon, Executive Director of Christian Initiatives & Community Partnerships