I think my natural tendency as a mom is to want to help. I want to help my kids even though they are now all adults. That helping extends beyond my kids though. I see someone that I think needs help and that mom in me wants to step in and solve the problem, bandage the “owie” or soothe the heartbreak. If every problem could be solved with a hug and word of advice, I would do it. However, sometimes we can’t help in the way we might want to. Sometimes we might need to step back and wait for the call for help before we step in and maybe instead of a word of advice or a hug, we need to grab a broom and start sweeping.
Help is needed everywhere if only we can find how and when to lift that helping hand. In Samuel’s case, he learned early. I think he began learning to serve when he was just a toddler. Perhaps his mother would ask him to fetch her a jar or would let him help her grind up some wheat to make bread. Maybe like most mothers, she might have thought, I could do this job quicker by myself yet she knew she only had Samuel for a short time and she wanted him to be ready to serve in the temple when the day came so she taught him to help. When Samuel was brought to the temple, he was still very young. He might have been still a preschooler, but he was there to help and help he did. At first his helping probably consisted of doing whatever it was Eli, the priest, asked him to do and showed him to do. Gradually Samuel was able to take on more and more responsibility and he grew to know and love God.
How can we as moms teach our kids to patiently help others? First, we can serve others. If we are helping and serving, then our kids will learn to serve too. When you are taking a meal to someone, helping as a greeter at your church or serving in your church nursery, bring your child along. Another idea is to let your child help you whenever you can even if it takes longer and on those times when they don’t want to do the job you ask, see if you can make it fun. (Making it fun doesn’t always work but it’s worth a try because sometimes it does help.) Encourage your kids to do whatever they can themselves. Even a toddler can help clean up a spill if given a towel. You may have to come along behind and finish the job, but it’s a start.
As for knowing when and how to help, that is a skill that we may need to work on our entire lives. Listen for ways you can help and step in when you can. If you see someone who is struggling and you don’t know how to help, ask, “How can I help you?” Sometimes helping in a practical way opens the door to help in other ways. When someone is overwhelmed by an illness or family emergency simply being there to watch their kids, bring a meal, feed their pets or just sitting with them at the hospital can be a tremendous help. Lastly, there is one way that we can always help and that is to pray for our friends, our churches and situations around the world. Sometimes we forget the prayer aspect. We often are so busy, that we wait until there is nothing else we an do but pray. Prayer does make a difference and calls God to the aid of the person or situation we are praying for. Whatever you do, trust God to show you just how you can help, then do it!
I truly do want to help others. I want to extend your kindness and love to those I come in contact with everyday, yet I know often I let busyness get in the way of what I do for others. Show me how to slow down and really take notice of people. Break my heart with the things that break your heart and most of all I ask that when I do help others that they would see Jesus in me because you are who I live for. Show me how I can help my family learn to serve and help too. Are there some simple jobs that my kids and I could do this week to help someone? Make me aware of those opportunities. Help us daily to walk in your timing instead of getting upset and losing our patience when reality collides with our ideas and schedules. Thank you, God, that you are so patient with us. Amen.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH YOUR CHILD?
SHARE A STORY: Samuel Helps In the Temple– 1 Samuel 1:28 – 2:26
When Samuel was big enough to be away from home, Hannah took him to the temple church to live. At the temple church, Samuel served God and helped Eli the priest/pastor. “Samuel!” Eli called. “It’s time to get up and get the temple ready for the people to come.”
Samuel went to help Eli quickly. He swept the floors and dusted. He even filled the lamps with oil so that there would be light in the temple church. Samuel liked helping. He did whatever pastor Eli asked him to do. Samuel also liked learning about God. Samuel loved God and wanted to serve Him with all His heart. Sometimes Samuel might have wished he could be back with his family. Maybe he got tired of helping. Still Samuel worked hard and continued patiently helping. He knew that’s what God wanted him to do.
God made you and loves you (Place hands on heart.) just like He did Samuel. He made you with strong legs and feet. He made you with hands. You can use your hands and feet to help too. Helping can be fun, but sometimes it’s hard work too. When you help, remember you are serving God just like Samuel did. Remember God will make you strong and He will help you to love and serve others happily.
Thank you for my family who takes care of me everyday. Thank you for making me strong and giving me hands and feet so that I can help at home and at church. Sometimes I don’t want to pick up my toys, but I know that you will help me when I ask you to. I want to be a good helper like Samuel was. Help me to be patient and not get mad when mom asks me to help. Amen.
For Older Siblings: Make this a helping week. Ask your older sibling to think of ways they would like to help this week or honor others. When we help, it does honor other people. Ask them why they think it’s important to help. Can helping make waiting easier? How does helping making waiting easier? Talk about times when they have helped when it was really fun. Share your best helping experiences and work together this week. It can be a great way to do something as a family by finding someone who needs some help and serving that person together.
KNOW: I can help like Samuel did. I can help because I love God.
TALK ABOUT: Ways I can help others.
ASK: Who made you? God made me.
MEMORIZE: Ps. 27:14 ERV (Hold hands open as if holding a book.)
Be strong – (Show muscles.)
And brave – (Hands open in front of you and then close into fists.)
And wait for – (Wiggle fingers.)
The Lord’s help – (Jump and point upwards.)
For Older Siblings: Talk about how they can help someone when waiting patiently. When we are busy helping others, it can help us to wait patiently for what we might want.
AND DO: Learn to help others happily even if it means having to wait to do what I want.
What can you do? I can be a happy helper because God will help me.
* Think of someone your whole family can help this week and then do it. Suggestions – a neighbor that needs help carrying in groceries or a grandma who needs her flowers watered or sign-up to help at church.
* When it’s hard to be patient, play a waiting game such as “I Spy” or make up silly rhymes.
For Older Siblings: Have your older child come up with a simple game to play with his younger brother or sister to help when having to wait. This is a great way for older siblings to help too.