Greetings from Toddler/Newborn Land…where everyday I wake up to this question from my 3 year old….”Momma, is your stomach little yet? Cuz its kind of Big Little.”
Ummm I think you mean medium…and No…NO my stomach is not little again…but before I digress into how my 3 year old needs some training in basic socially acceptable questions to ask 3 week post partum women…we have some unfinished business over here on the blog…
Now I know y’all have been losing sleep at night, waiting for the finale to this Leadership Development trilogy…because let’s be honest all great things come in 3’s… the Stars Wars trilogy, The Trinity, and Neapolitan Ice Cream….
Leadership Principle: A leader Is a servant
Many of us are familiar with the story of Jesus washing his disciples feet. By doing this He showed the world, that He did not come to “be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28) completely defying our world’s perception of what you should do when you lead and have the power and authority. The world shows us leaders that abuse and use power for their own selfish gain. But Jesus showed us a leader who held all power and authority (He was God in flesh!) But used His authority to serve others, love them, and set them free.
As a parent we will naturally be serving all the time. So they are going to see us as an easy example in this. But where I have to check my heart continually is my attitude in service. Do I sigh deeply when my kids ask me for one more song, one more story. Does a grimace cross my face everytime I have to clean up poop or cat vomit? Do I serve with joy? That’s what they really need to see, even when we’re tierd and aren’t feeling it.
Just as with humility in leadership, our kids will learn to joyfully serve by first watching our example.
They can also learn to serve, by us giving them opportunity to serve others. This one can be easily done in a thousand ways at home.
– Asking them to serve a younger sibling by teaching them how to do something.
– Serving through sacrifice, gently guiding them to allow another child or sibling to play with a favorite toy for a while.
– Asking them to help you with various age appropriate tasks around the house. My boys love to sweep, dust (swifter dusters are awesome for kids to use) and help unload the dish washer. I also have them clean our kitchen cabinets by wiping them down with baby wipes (you could also use a wet cloth). I ask them to help clean up their pee accidents and spills at the dinner table. Even a 20 month old can learn to run a paper towel across the floor. They also throw away their pull ups in the morning, put away their clothes and hang up their bath towels and of course clean up their toys. One of their favorite chores is helping me bring in the groceries. Finn loves carrying groceries and saying “I’m strong, I’m strong.” Even as a 20 month old Finn loves to serve and help and use his strength to help me. One thing I am constantly reminding my boys of is that they are strong and that God has given them strength to help others! By including them in these tasks I am building in them a work ethic and an understanding that their purpose in our family and in life is not to be served but to serve. I also ask them to help with things that are generally “my responsibility” because I want them to be looking out for the needs of other people. One way I have done this is asking Caden to get me diapers or wipes when I am doing a diaper change for Finn. One day during potty training Finn had pooped in his pants and it was everywhere. Caden immediately got up and said “Its ok Momma, I’ll help!” He ran and grabbed wipes and paper towel for me, and then started to clean up some of Finn’s poop that was smeared on the floor. I told him it was ok, Momma would clean the poop up, but Caden insisted he help clean the poop. I am not sure if I have ever had a prouder parenting moment. I saw the true heart of a servant in Caden in that moment, because without being asked he did what he could to help me, and even joyfully volunteered to do something I have never asked him to do (clean up his brother’s poop). I know he is going to be a leader that looks to meet the needs of others and serves in the low places.
– Looking for opportunities for them to serve outside the home. This could be a service project you complete as a family. We recently had a chance to bless in a small way some kids that were victims in the Houston flood. A local family was collecting “joy bags” to distribute to kids who had lost everything. These joy bags included small toys and treats to bring some joy to these kiddos. Now honestly packing up my 2 wild toddlers and heading to Target is not something I love to do, and it would have been easier to just write a check, but I knew there was immeasurable value in them being involved in the process of picking out and giving gifts to kids who had just been through trauma. It really impacted Caden, and for months whenever we went to Target he thought we were going to buy toys for kids who had none. Opportunities to serve can come at the park or at a friends house. When we stop and take time to pick up the toys that were played with before we leave, or share a toy we brought with another kid at the park.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject!!!!!!!! How do you help your kiddos become servant leaders? I really LOVE hearing ideas from other parents about what’s working/worked!