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Helping kids learn to give it away

Christmas is for the children who love the stories, carols and presents and generally bask in the family and holiday festivities but as the reflection from Donna Walck (page 16) demonstrates, Christmas is not just about “us”. Helping children focus beyond themselves during this season can be a challenge for parents.

Children’s Ministry Coordinator with the Youth and Children’s Ministry Unit, Paul Yarrow, believes if we want the world to be a better place for our children, we need to teach them how to contribute.

“Getting children involved in serving others in their local community and in wider charitable activities teaches them that life is more than simply accepting things as they are.

“When kids are involved in making a positive difference, even in some small way, they can see the results and gain the confidence to help change the world one small step at a time.

“If we want kids who will help usher in the Kingdom of God then we need to do more than just tell them the bible stories and teach them to pray. As parents, grandparents and adult friends we need to work with children to transform our community, or at least our small part of it.

Mr Yarrow sees the idea in the book and movie Pay It Forward as an example of how a real-life social movement has emerged worldwide.

“The small things we do for others and our environment all help change our world.

“The subtle things like picking up our rubbish after a picnic, talking to a new neighbour or donating to a charity seep into children’s minds.

“Children learn what they experience. If we help our children to think beyond their own needs and to care for others then they experience the gospel in action.”

Mr Yarrow says that children who are involved in activities that serve others might not like it at first, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.

“Some kids don’t like brushing their teeth or going to school but as adults we know these things are important and do our best to encourage our kids to do them.

“Is serving others any less important?”