Have you ever taken a big risk? I’m not talking about eating your mom’s broccoli casserole after too many days in the fridge. I’m talking about something that could have only ended with a big win or a big disaster. Asking a girl to prom that has never talked to you. Pep-rally dance-off. Stealing second base in the last inning of the playoffs. If you’ve ever gone all in—taken a big risk— there’s only one reason you did it. The payoff. For every risk, there’s the promise of a reward. And if the reward is worth it, if it’s enticing enough, you just might be willing to do things you might otherwise never consider. Did you know that serving the people around you can be risky? Not only is there no guarantee of being successful, of actually helping someone, but serving also means putting our comfort, our convenience, and our reputation on the line. On the other hand, choosing not to serve others has risks as well. Not only could we miss out, but those around us may go without something that they really need. Either way, there’s a lot on the line. So the question you have to ask is: Am I going to play it safe or am I going to go all in?
Think About This:
There’s an ugly word that has been going around. It has been used to describe our students and their generation. Maybe you’ve heard it: Entitled. Of course, that’s not the word we want to describe our son or daughter, but in a culture where nearly every step is celebrated, it can be difficult for our students to fight against the sense that the world really does revolve around them.
Students who grow up with this kind of sense of entitlement often become unhappy and unproductive adults. That’s why it’s so important for us to help them move their focus beyond themselves at this critical stage in life.
In the article Serving Others Will Help Your Teen Thrive from Psychology Today, author Kenneth Ginsburg suggests a possible antidote to the epidemic of entitlement.
Kids who make contributions to others learn to see beyond themselves. Young people who give rather than just receive will learn that the universe doesn’t revolve around them or owe them everything they desire. They begin to see beyond their isolated, self-oriented circles. They recognize themselves as part of larger communities.
In the same article he continues…
Young people who understand the importance of service gain a sense of purpose that can build their own resilience and further their own success. Real service opportunities exist everywhere. Your child does not need to build a water purification system in a far away land to garner the benefits that contribution offers. There are needy among us. Some may reside in shelters, visit food kitchens, or be recuperating in hospitals. Others may be our neighbors, whether a lonely elderly woman who needs help shoveling the snow, or a sixth grader who needs just a little more confidence in math and could use help with his homework.(http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/raising-resilient-children-and-teens/201112/serving-others-will-help-your-teen-thrive)
In other words, students who serve others are more likely to have the best shot at becoming adults who contribute rather than consume.
This season, there is a great way for you to help your student serve others. Since 1993, Operation Christmas child has delivered shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items to 113 million children in more than 150 countries. Try participating in this year’s event with your student.
Step One: Shop
Take a shopping trip with your student to fill a shoebox with items like toys, school supplies, and hygiene items that will be donated to a child somewhere around the world. See the attached “How to Pack a Shoebox” page for more details.
Step Two: Label Your Box
Cut out the labels on “How To Pack A Shoebox” page and attach them to your box indicating the age and gender of the child who should receive it.
Step Three: Send It
When you’re ready to send your box, simply include a check for $7 shipping. Then,
- If your church is partnering with Operation Christmas child, you can drop off the box there.
- If you’re not sure about a drop off location, you can mail your box to the address below.
Operation Christmas Child
801 Bamboo Rd.
Boone, NC 28607