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Serving Others
Photo: Philippe Ramakers
It was the first time I placed myself in an area where I knew I would not be seen by my children. I stood watching, somewhat transfixed as they flitted here and there; pouring coffee, smiling, and chatting happily with the two dozen or so residents that surrounded the small tables in the recreation room. It was then that I realized just how important it is to encourage our children to serve others.

Both of my daughters volunteer four afternoons each week at our local nursing home, and so far I can’t tell who is more blessed; them, the residents that they serve, or me when I watch them in wide-eyed wonder from my inconspicuous hideout in the hallway. At ages 10 and 13 respectively, obviously neither one understands the many details of psychology, but they do understand that elderly folks get lonely.

Whether they help a gnarled, arthritic hand move the pieces of a board game, or simply sit down and talk with the old man who doesn’t see his children much anymore, the residents repay them with smiles, gentle teasing, and compliments for a job well done.

Serving the elderly can help our kids achieve a sense of self-worth, thoughtfulness, and compassion for those who are not physically or emotionally capable of helping themselves. It gives them the necessary tools for dealing with everyday people who obviously don’t always enjoy the same activities that they do, and it helps them understand that different isn’t bad, it’s just……well, different!

Senior Treasure

Perhaps I’m too melancholy, but I don’t think society pays enough attention to these beautiful people we call senior citizens. These precious members of the human race are often relegated to a life of loneliness and despair behind the walls of a facility they didn’t choose to live in. We can’t always bring about a change in society’s collective thinking, but we can do our part to see that these valuable people are given our love, sympathy, and time.

It’s great training for young people who need to have emotional integrity toward their fellow man, and more than this, God expects it from those who claim to be followers. I am reminded of the scripture’s admonition to take service seriously.

“Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling you a solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone who was overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:40).

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By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the THE MESSAGE / REMIX ®.

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