When I was a newly minted mom, there was another lady in my church group who had recently had a baby. I called her up and told her I was bringing her dinner, she resisted, I insisted and so, I secured my first opportunity to serve as a mom with my offspring.
I was excited, however I seemed to have forgotten how difficult it was to make a meal for our small family of three. Making dinner for two families was over -the-top stressful. I started late, arrived late, and realized, too late that I needed a few essential items, like containers and fresh fruit. Exhausted, cranky and mad at everyone, I finally showed up to her house with soup in re-purposed butter tubs, grapes that were on the decomposing side of their life and a few half opened containers of condiments. I came home confused. I thought service was supposed to make me happy, but I was not very happy, at all.
Since, that first big opportunity to serve, I’ve realized that this whole serving others with kids in tow is not as effortless, as I thought. I still want to, but I still struggle all the time.
My question: How can I serve without being grumpy about it?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that should you choose to purchase through the links provided, I will receive a small commission. Thank you for your service to me.
This will be assuming you want to serve. The benefits of which are a topic for another day.
Make it easier.
Often service is not convenient and though I know we should still serve, one thing that has helped me is to plan ahead for service by figuring out what would be easiest for me to do and still be helpful. Making and freezing meals and figuring out other quick and easy meals is one practice that has helped me be more willing to serve .
Another way to make service easier is to lower our own expectations, a simple meal is often just as helpful as a 3 course meal with rolls and dessert. Often times the simpler service is even better than the more complicated kind.
It is also helpful to have supplies already on hand as much as you can. Here are a few items that would have made that first service a tad bit easier:
Make it enjoyable.
I also, have been impressed with what I learned from reading the autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt. She intertwined something she liked to do (write) with serving others. For years, she wrote a weekly column and put all the money she got from that job into charitable work. Later, in her life, she also worked as a UN ambassador, a post she took because of the passion she felt to create world peace, but which sadly paid so little she was left to subsidize her own trips to the conferences.
In my own life, I have found there are ways I can serve that are enjoyable to me. I can take a friend out to lunch, donate blood while reading a book or just stop what I’m doing and really listen to a neighbor or child. In so doing, I am often rejuvenated as well. Just because it’s helpful doesn’t mean it should be drudgery.
Make it achievable.
I think the real reason I often struggle with service is that I am not being realistic about the amount of time I have to offer in service. I know that part of service is giving of your time, but I also know that we all have a finite amount of time to be able to share. The times when I have been the crankiest have been when I just tried to do too much at one time. It has helped to look at my calendar, think through my list and determine whether or not I can realistically do a service while still serving in the many capacities I already do.
I know this won’t take away all the hard parts of service, it’s supposed to be hard, but it has helped me to think of ways to make service easier, more enjoyable and achievable, and in so doing I have been happier, too.
What about you, what are some ways you’ve found to make giving service with children an easier prospect?
Write it down in a journal, talk it over with a friend or leave a comment on Facebook.