Bible Verse – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and most important command.  The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” Matthew 22:37-40

One of the best ways to combat selfishness is to introduce the idea of service.  When we learn the Golden rule in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them – this is the Law and the Prophets.” we are learning that putting others needs first or serving is what God wants from us.  Even a toddler can pass out a snack , “ Oh, you want a snack?  Can you give your brother and sister these crackers first? Then you can have your snack.” As they pass the snack out make sure you praise the toddler and have their siblings thank the toddler for serving them. Anytime a child wants a drink, a snack or a treat, is a great time to have them serve each other.

Even cleaning up their toys is an act of service.  We can say, “ Okay, let’s all straighten up so that we can serve Daddy by having a nice clean house to come home to.”  I remember handing my little twins their toys to throw into the toy bin one at a time.  Could I have done it faster myself? Sure, but that wasn’t the point.  The point was to train them into straightening up and that we serve each other by cleaning up after ourselves. 

If you bake cookies, make extra and take them to a neighbor before you enjoy the cookies yourselves.  As your kids get older, take note of the elderly neighbors and go out as a family and shovel their driveway as you shovel yours.  In our family, we always said, “ We are the J.O.Y. (Jesus, Others, Yourself) Patrol .  When we put Jesus first, then others and only ourselves last, we not only bring JOY but we get JOY in return.”

To serve others outside our home we may write letters to our Compassion kids, send Operation Christmas Child boxes, make and give Blessing Bags to the homeless, serve in homeless shelters, go on Mission trips, pray around our neighborhood, bring meals to those who need it etc.  By middle school, we expect our kids to be serving  outside our home atleast once a week.  We thought it so important that we made service a requirement of graduating from our homeschool. We serve those inside our home by cleaning, cooking, yard work, taking care of the dog, laundry etc.  It’s important to have both realms of service, inside and outside our home.

When I notice a child struggling with selfishness, I make a concerted effort to give them service opportunities and remind them of our priorities.  We are to put Jesus, others, and then ourselves and when we mix that up, we bring everything but joy with us.

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