Sunday, January 31, 2010

Parenting Tip #24 Teach Service

A young Dad spoke in Church. He related a talk he had heard about Jack McConnell, MD. Dr. McConnell “grew up in the hills of southwest Virginia in the United States as one of seven children of a Methodist minister and a stay-at-home mother. Their circumstances were very humble. He recounted that during his childhood, every day as the family sat around the dinner table, his father would ask each one in turn, “And what did you do for someone today?” The children were determined to do a good turn every day so they could report to their father that they had helped someone. Dr. McConnell calls this exercise his father’s most valuable legacy, for that expectation and those words inspired him and his siblings to help others throughout their lives. As they grew and matured, their motivation for providing service changed to an inner desire to help others.

Besides Dr. McConnell’s distinguished medical career—where he directed the development of the tuberculosis tine test, participated in the early development of the polio vaccine, supervised the development of Tylenol, and was instrumental in developing the magnetic resonance imaging procedure, or MRI—he created an organization he calls Volunteers in Medicine, which gives retired medical personnel a chance to volunteer at free clinics serving the working uninsured. Dr. McConnell said his leisure time since he retired has “evaporated into 60-hour weeks of unpaid work, but [his] energy level has increased and there is a satisfaction in [his] life that wasn’t there before.” He made this statement: “In one of those paradoxes of life, I have benefited more from Volunteers in Medicine than my patients have.” There are now over 70 such clinics across the United States.“,5232,23-1-1117-27,00.html

The speaker then continued, “I have two little girls. This talk made me realize that now I am responsible to teach my children to serve others.”

How do we teach our children to serve others? By giving service ourselves, by including our children in our service projects and by teaching them to serve one another in the family. My daughter tells how at Christmas time their church suggested that members buy gift cards instead of presents or money to help those who needed help. My daughter thought this would be a great way to involve her children so all week she had them do extra chores to earn money, then they went to the store to purchase the gift cards. Everything went as planned until her 6 year old daughter had to actually hand over the gift card. Then she had a huge temper tantrum. That made my daughter so mad that SHE had a huge temper tantrum in return and the wonderful service project turned sour fast!

That’s life in the real family! But I know that my daughter will continue to teach her children to serve others and I know my granddaughter will eventually learn to serve cheerfully—because my daughter is a great role model of how to give service to others!

1 comment:

  1. I try to help my kids learn, in a small way, to serve by remembering others, and remembering to be grateful. We try to always send out thank you cards and birthday cards. We make it into a craft time, so it's fun for the kids. This is small, but at least brings a smile to the receiver.




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