“The Lord gave me a message. He said, "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born i set you apart and appointed you as my spokesmand to the world.”
What are you passing down to the next generation? It's not enough to think great words of wisdom; you must mentor and vocalize it. A blessing is not a blessing until it is spoken. Your children need to hear you say words such as, "I love you. I believe in you. I think you're great. There's nobody else like you. You are one of a kind." They need to hear your approval. They need to feel your love. They need your blessing. Start speaking and mentoring those blessings over your family members this holiday season.
It is a great opportunity and responsibility to speak and mentor God's blessings to your children, especially when they are young. Declaring God's blessings each day strenghtens character and prompts them to treat others likewise. Your words will long impact your children after they are grown and have children of their own.
Most children get their concepts of who God is and what He is like from their parents. If the parent is mean, critical, and harsh; inevitably the children will grow up with a distorted view of God. If the parents are loving, kind, compassionate, and just; the children will better understand God's true character.
Negative words and actions cause our children to lose the sense of value God has placed within them. As parents, we have a responsibility before God and society to train our children, to discipline them when they disobey, to lovingly correct them when they make the wrong choices. Don't constantly harp on your kids. If you continually speak words that discourage and disheaten, before long you will destroy your child's self-image. The best recourse to steer our kids on the correct path is by mentoring.
Why not teach your children to give a bit of their time this holiday season? Try serving others over Christmas as a family. After all, it is a season of giving. Everyone seems to be a little more generous and charitable. The spirit of giving can abound this time of year and what a wonderful teachable moment to mentor. As much as we want our children to get excited about all of the festivities of the holidays, we also want to teach them to focus their hearts and minds outward on others—just as Jesus did.
Here are 20 relatively simple ways you can mentor your family by serving together this holiday season.
1. Deliver cookies to the employees at a fire station, police station, or hospital on Christmas Day.
2. Choose a child’s name off of a giving tree and pick out the gift together as a family.
3. Pool together some money to buy a tank of gas for a friend or relative who can’t afford to go home for Christmas.
4. Recruit several families and adopt a nursing home. Buy a simple gift for each resident (lotion, slippers, holiday throw blankets, etc) and arrange a time to deliver the gifts.
5. Send Christmas cards to military personnel overseas.
6. Prepare a meal together as a family and take it to a sick or elderly friend. You can use this free “From Our Kitchen to Yours” printable for baking/reheating instructions.
7. Deliver a baked good to your neighbors.
8. Leave a Christmas card (and perhaps a little treat) in your mailbox for the mail carrier.
9. Go caroling at a nursing home.
10. Volunteer to read a Christmas book aloud to your child’s class … or contact your local bookstore to see if you can schedule a time to read aloud to their children’s section.
11. Ring bells for the Salvation Army.
12. Host a Christmas dinner for the widows and widowers at your church.
13. Host a packing party for Operation Christmas Child, a ministry through Samaritan’s Purse that sends a shoebox of gifts/personal items to a child in a Third World country for Christmas—which is often the only gift the child will receive.
14. Take balloons or small gifts to the children’s ward of your local hospital. You probably won’t be able to deliver them to the children themselves due to privacy policies, but you can ask the nurses to deliver them or ask permission of the parents who happen to be present at the time.
15. Choose a day to serve each other inside your own home. Take out the trash for your husband, encourage your children to pick up their sibling’s toys, and show appreciation for one another.
16. Encourage every member of your family to look each person they come across that day in the eye, smile, and express their appreciation with a simple “thank you” or a compliment.
17. Go to the grocery store together as a family and pick up a few items for your local food pantry. Many stores have drop-off locations within the store itself during the Thanksgiving/Christmas seasons.
18. Volunteer to babysit, as a family, for a couple with small children so that they can go out on a date.
19. Clean out your closet and take your clothes to a local shelter.
20. Set the timer for 10 minutes. Have each person in your house go through their books and choose a few to donate to your local library (or elsewhere).