We’re Teaching This: 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.
In other words, students who serve others are more likely to have the best shot at becoming adults who contribute rather than consume.
We have a few amazing opportunities for students and families to serve coming up in the next month or so. First of all, the Feed a Family for Thanksgiving drive is next week! We will be collecting food on November 19 and 20 at the Kent Narrows Outlets (the old outlets). On Saturday, November 22, we will drive through the community and distribute the food to families who are in need. What an amazing chance to do exactly what Jesus asks us to do! As Jesus said in Matthew 25: "For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.... And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
Stay tuned for our plans for the Giving Back Project, our annual Christmas project for the homeless.
Danae is the Director of Youth Ministries at KIUMC. She has a B.A. in Culinary Arts and Service Management from Paul Smiths College in Paul Smiths, NY. She has attended KIUMC for the past 8 years. Danae enjoys cooking, spending time with family and friends, and is a complete Disney Fanatic.