Why You Shouldn't Be a Servant to Your Kids

How to Help Your Kids Have a Servant's HeartAt some point, I think most modern adults look at the younger generation and are amazed by their general self-centeredness and expectations of entitlement. (Of course not all young people are this way, but these traits are certainly pervasive in our society.) Recently, I saw a video that encapsulated this problem. I don't normally watch this type of television - but I bumped into it on social media, and was prompted to watch it due to the remarks it was receiving. Oh. My.

Then the issue of being entitled and unwilling to serve others hit close to home.

The Problem with Chores

When we lived in the suburbs, I was careful to teach my kids how to do basic chores like laundry and dishes, and made sure they lent a helping hand most days. But when we moved to our rural homestead, this became more difficult. For example, we have to carry laundry to another building, which is physically more challenging. Plus, it's harder for me to supervise to make sure, say, the lint trap is properly cleaned so it doesn't start a fire. Our dishwasher is also weirdly placed, and because we have hard water, more than just ordinary dish detergent must be added. Probably the biggest problem, though, has been my health. I've been so exhausted - first with undiagnosed diabetes and then with acute anemia - that I simply didn't have it in me. It was all I could do to do chores myself; I didn't have the energy to patiently teach.

Fast forward to the weeks where I was prepping for my recent surgery. I did everything I could to make life easier for my husband and kids. Sure, I could have turned to my husband and said: "Dinner? Laundry? Dishes? All that other stuff I do? It's up to you to figure it all out." Indeed, many women in my online hysterectomy support group do just that. But that's the way of the world, isn't it? I wanted to do things God's way. So, striving toward a servant's heart, I made freezer meals that could quickly and easily be warmed in the microwave (which my kids know how to use) and took a lot of time and effort to make other chores as easy as possible.

One of those preps was making sure my oldest was comfortable running the washer and dryer (including adequately cleaning the lint trap and properly putting it back in place), that my youngest knew how to empty the dishwasher correctly, and that my oldest was reasonably proficient in putting dirty dishes in the machine. (We used a lot of paper plates, too, but the utensils, cups, and bowls added up quickly!)

The next thing I knew, though, my oldest was telling me my youngest preferred to put dirty dishes in the machine, rather than take clean ones out. She also said she preferred to put clean dishes away. Hmm...Because I have a higher than average counter and sink, I didn't think this would work well - but I told her we'd try things their way.

When I told my son what his sister said, however, he denied it.

See what was going on? Neither of my kids wanted to do any chores. Worse, they didn't have a servant's heart.

Servant? Or Master?

Neither kid wanted to do dishes. I admit, this wounded me. Not only as an individual (I confess my first thought was: "I slave for you, kids, and yet you aren't willing to do dishes when I'm physically unable to???"), but also as a parent; I realized then what unwilling servants my children were. We had a serious heart-issue going on.

It might seem counter-intuitive, but what I've observed, both in my own little family and in other families, is that the more parents serve their children, the less their children are willing to serve. Many a mommy (myself included) has hoped that serving their children well will set a great example and inspire their kids to serve others. But instead, it seems to just make kids entitled.

How to Help Your Kids Have a Servant's Heart

If you find yourself with kids who don't have servants hearts, what do you do? Here's what I did:

* Do Bible studies on how God wants us to be servants. Got Questions, Bible.org, and Open Bible offer some good resources to start with. We were in the middle of reading the gospels, so it came naturally to talk about Jesus' servanthood and how he wants us to follow his example.

* Insist your children serve others. Age-appropriate chores at home is a decent place to begin. Today, I don't let anything - even school work - to get in the way of chores (because my children's spiritual health is way more important than their grades).

* Make certain your kids see you serve others - your husband, the needy, etc. Focus less on serving your kids, and make sure anything they can do, they do do...at least most of the time. They need those life skills, anyway!

Did it Work?

I'm happy to say my kids stepped up to the plate when I came home from surgery. (It helped that a grandma was there to insist upon it. Thank you, Grandma!) And acting as a servant helped them to see a few things that are vital to their future spiritual health:

* They are capable.

* They can be more independent.

* It's good to help others. God wants us to do it!

* Mom works really hard for our benefit.

My children are still doing a lot of things around the house: Caring for critters, laundry, dishes, cleaning the floors, helping to clean the bathroom...and they will continue to do so. For their own well being.

What are you doing today to ensure your kids have a God-desired servant's heart?

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