There are some families that we see at almost every, single KindCraft event. We decided to ask them how they are able to serve every month when their families are just as busy with sports, appointments, traveling spouses, homework, and other extracurricular activities. Why not ask the experts right? They certainly have figured this out! Well here is what they had to say!
1. PLAN AHEAD AND PRIORITIZE SERVING AS A FAMILY
Brooke Nelson, mother of three from Gardner, says, "As the family scheduler/organizer I have just made kindness and participating in service events a priority for our family. I schedule events months in advance and my kids will skip other activities (ex: sports) if needed. Kindcraft activities give me an opportunity to serve with my kids which is huge…as we know modeling is so important in teaching our kids kindness. It’s one thing to talk about serving and being kind, but actually doing activities gives them hands-on, tangible experience…I love it!!!"
2. BE INTENTIONAL
Amy Langford, mother of two boys, says, "Serving is what God calls us to do. I have a servant’s heart and want my children to understand the importance of it. We also live in a community “bubble”, where our children don’t know what it’s like to go without or “need” anything. It’s important for them to know what lies outside of our area and know how important it is to help others. My word for the year is INTENTIONAL and it will be my word moving forward. If you don’t have intention, you can’t teach your goals or withhold your family values. We decide what’s important and what matters most."
3. USE SERVING TO DIRECTLY TEACH SACRIFICE AND EMPATHY
Genia Deets, mother of four from Olathe says, "We like to prioritize the Kindcraft events that really get our younger kiddos involved, but yet also have an impact on our older children. One thing that helps us is to get the events on our schedule early. We also try to remember when we’d rather be at other events or relaxing at our house, that the families we are helping are going without food or without a warm place to sleep, so our one hour sacrifice really isn’t much of a sacrifice…even though some nights it feels like it. No matter how tired or overbooked we are when we arrive, we leave with a full heart and life lessons to build on."
4. MAKE FUN FAMILY MEMORIES (OUT OF SERVING...)
Josh Mitchell has four children and he says he is very particular about not letting them load up with regularly scheduled commitments. Josh tries to reserve time on Wednesdays and Thursdays for his family to do memorable activities and conveniently a lot of KindCraft events are on Wednesday evenings. Finally Josh says "service and community engagement are high on my priority list of “memorable stuff” to do".
Take a look at these Kindcrafters-they certainly know how to have fun and these look like memories that will last a lifetime.
5. CONSIDER YOUR FAMILY VALUES.
What are some values you want your kids to learn? If kindness, compassion, and serving others are at the top of your list, then making a habit of serving as a family will only strengthen those family values.
Holly Nitz from Olathe, KS, says, "I mostly value showing kindness, in whatever form that takes. It could be as simple as a smile to the person crossing her path or as complex as the Girl Scout higher awards I've worked through with my girls. I firmly believe what comes around goes around. I also happen to find helping others and being kind fun. I love to see the faces of those you help or hear their stories. So, I've encouraged that thought and behavior in my girls. They have varying interests, but are almost always willing to help and they do go out of their way to spread kindness.
We don't have a formal plan to serve, but when we find an opportunity, we put it on our calendar and we make it a priority. We don't let something "more fun" change our commitment. We shuffle the "fun stuff" around the commitment we've made.
A big lesson I'm still working on is asking my girls how they want to serve. While I don't mind going, going, going and often putting others needs above my own, they are not me. I am now making it a priority to ask them rather than "voluntelling" them."
7. FOCUS ON THE POSITIVES.
When asked how she is able to serve with her family on a monthly basis, Afton Ratzlaff, mother of three from Olathe, KS says, "Simply put, we make sure it happens. It’s important to us to have the kids get used to serving their community so we make it a priority. We also look at it as a fun family date night! KindCraft does such a good job of getting the signup/registration out early, so as soon as registration is open, we get it on the calendar and plan other things going on around it. Kindcraft events are fun, and we all love helping others, so it’s a no brainer that we’re going to make sure we’re attending! If we do have something else come up, those from our family that can attend still will."Volunteering your time doesn't have to be something you dread or wish you didn't "have" to do. It can be very rewarding and FUN!
There you have it! Consider your family values-if your family values serving others and being compassionate, then get out those calendars, plan ahead, and MAKE time to serve together as a family. We hope you find it as rewarding and fun as we do!!