Friday, November 16, 2012

Serve the City with Kids

Recently, an acquaintance of mine who grew up with the Montessori Method remarked that as a child, he was perplexed when adults would make a distinction between "work" and "play". Children naturally blur the lines between work and play, when a healthy attitude towards work has been modeled for them by trusted adults. And for many children, doing "work" with and for others is a concrete way that they express their spirituality. They connect with God through action.

To help foster a lifestyle of service in all of us,  our family volunteers once a month with Serve the City Berlin. Serve the City is a global movement to help individuals who want to make a difference start doing it. Many people have a desire to lend a helping hand, but sometimes don't know how to start or make time in their already overwhelming schedules. Serve the City helps with this by organizing service events once a month. We simply donate one afternoon each month of our time. 

My children love being a part of these projects! Yes, sometimes it is hard to get them out the door on a Saturday, or they complain about wanting to stay home and play. And sometimes I struggle with feeling too tired to go. But once we get out the door, we always come home so glad that we went and took part. We meet so many interesting people and make small steps in seeing Berlin become a better place. 

Here are some of the projects that we have participated in:

The picture below was taken at a hospice where we did some garden work. Beforehand, our kids asked what a hospice was and we were curious as to how they might react to being in a place for terminally ill patients. They were, however, completely undaunted and wanted to know if some of the residents might want to play Uno with them. (That gives me a great idea for a future Easter Club project!)

Our Serve the City team doing garden work at a hospice.
The local Salvation Army was also been a great experience for the kids. We made waffles for the homeless people who visit and played games with them. It has been enriching for the kids to meet people from all walks of life. 

Playing board games at the Salvation Army.
Our latest project was packing gift boxes for "Weihnachten im Schuhkarton", which is what Operation Christmas Child is known as in Germany. Here is my son and one of his friends with a box. They also drew a greeting card for the little boy who will receive it. 

If you want to serve with your children, see if there is a Serve the City chapter near you or an organization like it. Even carving a small amount go time out of your schedule can make a huge difference  - for your kids and for the world!

Linked to Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions

and Grünzeug at Naturkinder

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