As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids. This is number 49 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.
This one needs no explanation, but it’s an all-time favorite for the servant heart. Both of my children, a girl and a boy, learned so much from volunteering to help Christian moms accomplish errands to his glory, study with others, have a date night with their husbands or just catch up on being keepers at home. Sometimes, when our kids were younger, they would keep the children in our home, so adult hands and eyes were present if they needed guidance. As our kids became teens, they were adept at keeping babies in their own homes or even tagging along as helper during a mom’s outing. Finally, they both were able to transfer those car seats to their vehicles and take the children on outings to give the busy moms a break. I remember when Caleb was a college student and working at Apologetics Press, the AP moms were amazed that he knew how to maneuver those car seats and take those kids shopping or out to eat. Best of all, he would ask the parents for these opportunities rather than the other way around!
Often, the teens in our congregation offer free baby-sitting at the building for the parents in the church. It’s a highlight, for sure, for the young ones involved. (Think cartoons on a big screen and popcorn and crafts and hide and seek in the auditorium.) It’s a super opportunity for the parents to get Christmas shopping done or have a date night. But the biggest spiritual bonus, again, probably happens in the hearts of the youth group. They become closer to the young families in the church, more comfortable with the tiny ones, better prepared to teach in the cradle roll and the primary classes and we see them sitting with families on Sundays and helping parents to offer better worship.
Now, all of this is not to say that it’s a mistake for your teens to have “real”, for-pay baby-sitting jobs. In fact, this is great practice for that scenario. First, though, it’s important to let your kids become better for the service. As a bonus, smart parents of toddlers will one day be looking to hire the teens who’ve shown that they enjoy being with their little ones. As your kids grow into the teen years, they will have lots of opportunities for both paid and not-for-profit baby-sitting.