Today I saw a man sitting outside of the grocery store begging. I’m not exactly sure what he was asking for, but I assumed it was money. He was talking to people as they walked into the store.
It’s always a little awkward walking by these people. It’s kind of like when you’re stopped at a red light and there’s a homeless person sitting right there watching you as you sip your hot drink and wait for the light to turn.
Maybe I’m just speaking for myself, but I seem to slink a little lower in my seat and avoid eye contact as I impatiently wait for the light to turn green. Am I the only person who does this? I don’t always display Christ’s love the way I should. I know God loves them, but sometimes I need to be reminded to love them too. It’s hard to be selfless. That’s why I think it’s so important to teach our kids while they are young.
Today while I was walking into the store I felt this nudge, from the holy spirit, to buy this man something to eat. I thought through some things and ended up buying him a cup of soup.
Although my kids weren’t with me, it reminded me that my kids copy what I do. They are so impressionable and are always watching everything I do. I want them to see me being loving and selfless, not slinking down in my seat when we’re next to a homeless person.
In a world full of me, me, me, I really need to be reminded that it’s not about me. I thought of some ways that we can help our kids be more selfless and have open eyes to those in need.
1. Get One, Give One
I just heard about this recently and I love the idea. Every time your child has a birthday or receives a gift have them choose a toy that they would like to give away to someone who might not have many toys. Reminding our kids that some kids don’t have as much is a good way to help their hearts understand. Toys are their most prized possessions and they don’t know that not everyone has what they have.
2. Pack Blessing Bags Together
Pack some Ziplocks with things for the homeless. There are lots of places where you can find things to include in these bags. Hand sanitizer, chap-stick, warm socks, a water bottle, etc. Keep these bags in your car so that you are ready to bless people as you go throughout the day. Remind your kids while you are in the car together to watch for someone who might need one. Include verses or a special card in each individual bag.
3. Discuss Interactions
I think it’s so important for our kids to know what’s going on inside our heads. Sometimes we forget that they don’t know why we do what we do and they might not always ask why. For example, if we buy a homeless person food, our kids probably don’t know why. Discussing these interactions will help our kids build empathy and hopefully start to see opportunity to see people how Jesus sees them on their own.
4. Encourage Selfless Eyes
While you are out and about, encourage your kids to watch with you for people who may be in need of Jesus. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you if there is someone who may need something. “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2 Sometimes we are the only Jesus someone might come in counter with and chances are your kids will probably notice things you don’t!
5. Memorize Verses
Teaching our kids what it says in the Bible is always a great way to help them think outside themselves. Thinking about the treasures that Jesus wants us to store up in heaven is a good place to start. You can even practice memorizing verses together.
I hope this has helped you to come up with a couple ideas to help your kids be more selfless and generous in a world where we tend to only think about ourselves. Remember to always be watching for people who may be in need.
It might be as simple as a smile or opening a door.