I saw the panic on my wife’s face as she pondered the beginning of summer. She needed a strategy to keep our three-year-old son busy and preoccupied. Trips to the swimming pool and play dates alone will not cut it!
So, I have been thinking. I know our son is kind of young, but surely there are some things we can do to help and serve others where he can be involved. I think we need to search this out and schedule a few for the summer.
Here are a few ideas I came up with so far:
- Help stock shelves at a local food pantry. If stocking shelves don’t float your boat, I bet you can find other ways to help, like filling client orders or providing light maintenance and clean up. If you are in the North Austin area, you can contact Hill Country Community Ministries to see when you and how you can help. Tell Sherry I sent you!
- Hang out with some kids at a children’s home. Again for those in the Austin area, you can contact Texas Baptist Children’s Home to find out about volunteer opportunities. I can say from experience that bringing by a meal for 8-12 people, and then spending time playing is welcomed!
- Drive an elderly person to a doctor appointment or for errands. Faith in Action Caregivers is an organization in the Austin area that you can contact to find out about this way to serve.
- Visit elderly who live in a nursing home. I am sure a nursing home is somewhere close to where you live. Sure some elderly might not enjoy a young child running around, but most would love to have the visit!
- Offer to do some pet-siting for some neighbors. If you have an animal love, find out from your neighbors if they need help with their pets while on vacation. I personally recommend this to getting your own dog or cat!
- Make and deliver hygiene bags to a homeless person. I found this article that describes a “Blessing Bag” to give to a homeless person. I noticed the other day that my friend Grady has a little hang-out area under a grove of trees close to the corner he “works”. We can put together a few of these bags and go spend some time with Grady and his buddies.
- Collect outgrown, gently used books and toys and donate them to organizations that can use them, such as, children’s homes, foster care agencies, or church nurseries. In addition to serving, this idea teaches how to give of our things.
This list focuses on ideas for young children, but I hope it gets your creative juices flowing to come up with additional ideas for your children.
Living an others centered life is not just taught, it is caught. I wish for our son to catch what it looks like to serve others even at his young age.
I have a feeling that these activities will be what he remembers more over the days at the pool or playground.